‘True Blood’ Creator Alan Ball Steps Down as Showrunner, Will Remain as Executive Producer

Fans of True Blood will probably be a bit alarmed to learn that series creator Alan Ball is abdicating his responsibilities as showrunner in the event of a sixth season.

In and of itself, those words are probably alarming to readers of the books, who are aware that Sookie’s supernatural shenanigans in Bon Temps go well into ten books, so fans face either a) a Ball-less few seasons if the show follows the books’ general form or b) a truncated show that doesn’t cover all the storylines of the later books. (The TV adaptation has notably deviated from the books, but it seems to come back around to the general plotlines by the start of each season.)

Although Ball will be leaving his spot as showrunner, he will remain as an executive producer. HBO released a statement regarding the changes at True Blood, saying the the creator had never planned to stay longer than six seasons:

“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.”

The statement continues:

“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. Banshee, on which Alan serves as executive producer, is the first in house series for Cinemax and is expected to begin production this spring.”

Ball also commented individually on the decision, saying:

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

Although book fans have complained a bit at some of the differences between Charlaine Harris’ works and the on-screen antics of Sookie, Bill, Eric, and the rest of the Bon Temps vamps and fangbangers, the show has maintained a loyal viewership and is only bested by the Sopranos in all-time HBO ratings. Do you think True Blood will be less compelling without Alan Ball at the helm?