Alan Ball will step down as showrunner of True Blood after next season.
The creator and executive producer of the HBO vampire drama, which returns for Season 5 this summer, announced Monday that he will continue on the series in a supervisory role should True Blood be renewed for a sixth season. He will continue to act as showrunner for the fifth season, which is currently in production.
True Blood's Alan Ball developing medical drama at HBO
"True Blood has been, and will continue to be, a highlight of not only my career but my life," Ball said in a statement. "Because of the fantastic cast, writers, producers and crew, with whom I have been lucky enough to work these past five years, I know I could step back and the show will continue to thrive as I look forward to new and exciting ventures."
"When we extended our multi-year overall deal with Alan Ball in July 2011, we always intended that if we proceeded to True Blood's sixth season that Alan would take a supervisory role on the series and not be the day-to-day showrunner," HBO said in a statement. "If we proceed to season six, the show will remain in the very capable hands of the talented team of writers and producers who have been with the show for a number of years."
Ball's deal stipulates that he will develop series for both HBO and Cinemax, where he already has two shows in contention. Banshee is set up at Cinemax, and he's working on a medical drama for HBO.
"This is the best possible world for both HBO and Alan Ball," the network's statement continues. "Alan will remain available as executive producer to consult and advise on True Blood and he will be free to develop new shows for both HBO and Cinemax. Banshee, on which Alan serves as executive producer, is the first in house series for Cinemax and is expected to begin production this spring."
HBO renews True Blood for a fifth season
On Friday, Forbes.com reported that Ball was stepping down due to exhaustion. Back in July, Ball told reporters that he was not ready to walk away from True Blood just yet. "There will be an end for me at some point but I just closed a deal to do another season," Ball said at HBO's fall TV previews. "I don't have any desire to leave because I'm having more fun than I ever had in my life." Two weeks after the announcement of his new deal, HBO renewed True Blood for a 12-episode fifth season.