<i>True Blood</i> Creator Alan Ball to Step Down as Showrunner

Confirming a weekend rumor, HBO has announced that Alan Ball will step aside as showrunner of True Blood following the upcoming fifth season of the hit supernatural drama. A replacement hasn't been named.

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.”

Ball, who created the series based on Charlaine Harris' bestselling Southern Vampire Mysteries novels, is also producing the new crime drama Banshee for Cinemax under his development deal with HBO. Initial reports cited "exhaustion" and the feeling that True Blood "had tired" last season as reasons for Ball's departure.

HBO released the following statement: "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."

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