HBO Renews <i>True Blood</i>

Surprising absolutely no one, HBO has renewed its hit supernatural drama True Blood for a 12-episode fifth season, set to debut in summer 2012.

Created by Alan Ball, the series is just seven episodes into its fourth season, which finds part-faerie waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and the undead residents of Bon Temps faced with the growing threat from a powerful 16th-century witch who has possessed the body of a psychic medium in an effort to exact vengeance on vampire kind. Season 4 has averaged 12.6 million viewers per episode.

"I remain amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm of our viewers," Ball said in a statement. "I can't imagine having more fun than this."

True Blood, based on the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris, also stars Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Alexander Skarsgard, Kevin Alejandro, Marshall Allman, Chris Bauer, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Nelsan Ellis, Joe Manganiello and Deborah Ann Woll.

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