Starz's sword-and-sandals hit "Spartacus" is coming to a (no doubt bloody but sexy) end after its next season, which is slated to start airing in January 2013. That means the network is on the hunt for more original programming and its latest venture is a pair of new projects in development, one from "Spartacus" creator Steven S. DeKnight and the other about vampires, which people are probably still into (those "Twilight" fans have to grow up sometime).
The bloodsucking series is "Vlad Dracula," which is from "Babylon 5" creator/writer and general genre stalwart J. Michael Straczynski along with horror producer Roy Lee and "Spartacus" vet Rob Tapert. The prospective show will be "a unique spin of the classic tale, blending the historical facts of the 15th century Prince of Wallachia, with the fictional Dracula whose story is known around the world and continues to fascinate audiences." According to Starz, the series will deal with the character's struggle to retain his humanity as he turns from ruler of men to eater of them.
DeKnight's project is the sci-fi actioner "Incursion," which sounds as much like a video game as a TV show. It "follows a squad of soldiers caught in a war against a hostile alien race. Each season the battle will be fought on a new, exotic planet as humanity punches deeper into enemy territory." The series aims to feature "grittily realistic combat," which will be a change from the outlandish, lurid fighting featured in "Spartacus."
Starz has been investing heavily in new programming, though the series have been all over the place -- period drama "Magic City" ended its initial run last month and has been renewed for another season; the Kelsey Grammer-led political series "Boss" is back for a second seaon on August 17th; and in May the network announced it was partnering with Michael Bay for his first major TV adventure with pirate series "Black Sails."