Should True Blood continue on for a sixth season, it will be doing so without Alan Ball as the showrunner. While Ball’s confirmed departure from the position seems like a big move, the statements issued by Ball and HBO both seem to indicate that this was expected, and that that Ball will not be leaving the series entirely.

Deadline posted both statements, which confirm that, following the HBO vampire drama’s fifth season, Alan Ball will no longer serve as showrunner for the series. While Ball comments on the series being among the highlights of his career and life, HBO’s statement suggests that this was all part of the plan when they extended their deal with him.
When we extended our 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. 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. This is the best possible world for both HBO and Alan Ball. 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.

So it seems he’ll still be around, more or less, and there’s a nice little plug in there for Ball’s upcoming new series Banshee. (Of course, anticipation for that would require a subscription to Cinemax.) In the meantime, will True Blood be the same without Ball running things? Assuming the series is picked up for a sixth season, it should be interesting to see what direction the show takes. I’m also curious to see whether Ball focuses his energy on the Cinemax drama, or if he’ll devote whatever extra time this shift affords him to creating a “new and exciting venture” in the form of a new series for HBO.

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