Mark Hudis, the showrunner for the sixth season of the HBO hit vampire show True Blood has quit.
Hudis was selected to replace the show’s creator Alan Ball last year after Ball stepped aside to work on Banshee for sister network Cinemax.
Hardcore fans of the Sookie Stackhouse book series by Charlaine Harris were critical of some of Ball’s choices to move the story in a direction the books didn’t go.
Mark Hudis, who has written for Nurse Jacki, That ’70s Show and Cybill, joined True Blood in season four as a writer and co-executive producer. He took the reins as Showrunner at the end of season 5 when Ball left.
Hudis spoke with his alma mater, Haverford College, for a feature in the school’s Fall 1012 magazine and revealed that he wanted to bring the vampires back to the show’s roots in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Fans have been hoping Hudis plan to focus on Bon Temps is an indication that season six might be more faithful to the Stackhouse novels.
He told his school’s magazine he expected it to be impossible to fill Alan Ball’s shoes, “The guy’s created two massive hit shows for HBO and has an Oscar. Really, this plane is in the air, and I just want to land it safely.”
Instead, Ball’s vampire airplane will now be piloted by Brian Buckner who started working on True Blood as a writer and producer for its first season. Before True Blood, Buckner’s writing credits include Spin City and Friends.
True Blood returns to HBO this summer. Since season six is still in production, there’s no way to be sure if Hudis stepping aside suggests problems with the show. Fans are left to wait and wonder.
An HBO spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter that Hudis stepped down “to focus on development under his overall deal with the network.”