Nellie Andreeva

If HBO’s hit vampire drama True Blood goes to a sixth season, it will be without its mastermind Alan Ball at the helm. HBO and Ball just confirmed ongoing speculation that Ball would leave the series full-time after the upcoming fifth season. He is under an overall deal with HBO and, in addition to True Blood, also executive produces new series Banshee for sibling Cinemax. Here are statements from HBO and Ball:

HBO: “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.  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.”

Alan Ball: “True Blood has been, and will continue to be, a highlight of not only my career but my life.  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.”

TV Editor Nellie Andreeva - tip her here.