True Blood: HBO Sets Final Season Premiere Date, First Teaser Hits Web

True Blood, the over-the-top HBO series about vampires, werewolves, fairies and other mythical creatures, enters its seventh and final season this year, and on Thursday HBO announced the date when the season will premiere — and released the season’s first teaser onto YouTube.

That’s right, now that several months of preseason hype for Game of Thrones is drawing to a close, with the Season Four of HBO’s fantasy epic starting Sunday, the time has come for another two-and-a-half months of hype for True Blood. HBO announced today that the 10-episode final season of the sex-and-gore heavy supernatural soap opera will premiere on June 22.

That will conclude a very solid run for the show — based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries series of novels by Charlaine Harris — which, when it first hit the pay cable channel on September 7, 2008, was not expected to be an enormous hit. Only 1.44 million viewers bothered to watch the first episode. But by the end of Season Four, True Blood peaked with 5.53 million viewers, excellent numbers for an HBO drama.

True Blood has been nothing short of a defining show for HBO,” said HBO programming honcho Michael Lombard. “Alan Ball took the books by Charlaine Harris, assembled a brilliant cast led by the magnificent Anna Paquin in the role of Sookie Stackhouse and crafted a show that has taken its many devoted fans on an unforgettable journey.”

Ball was the show’s creator and original showrunner, though he departed after Season Five of True Blood. Previously, he had been known for creating the HBO funeral-parlor drama Six Feet Under.

But like a vampire with a stake through its heart, the fate of True Blood was sealed when viewers began to peel away after the Season Four high watermark, perhaps exhausted by the show’s ever-escalating inventory of outlandish villains and outrageous plot twists.

The Season Six finale pulled in just 4.1 million viewers.

Check out the first teaser for the final season of True Blood, right here…