Alan Ball To Leave ‘True Blood’ At The End of Season 5

The man behind HBO's hit vampire series will step down, but he may not venture far from Bon Temps.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Following rumors that circulated earlier this week about his departure from "True Blood," Alan Ball has made it official. Ball will stepdown as showrunner following the conclusion of "True Blood" season five.

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

However, Ball is currently working under a development deal with HBO; which includes the upcoming action series, "Banshee" at Cinemax and a currently untitled medical drama project at HBO that centers on an abortion doctor. Part of Ball's current deal will also keep him tied to "True Blood," at least in a partial creative role.

"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," wrote HBO in their official statement on the subject. "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.”

Fans of Sookie Stackhouse and company shouldn't worry about the language in the statements that refer to the sixth season as a hypothetical. "True Blood" is one of HBO's biggest hits and if the ratings from last season are maintained, it will be an easy bet for renewal.

"True Blood" season five will debut this summer on HBO.