"True Blood"'s upcoming fifth season will be the last with Alan Ball in charge.
Ball, who created and executive produces HBO's vampire drama, will not continue as the series' showrunner if the show goes on to another season, the network confirmed to TheWrap on Monday.
According to HBO, the decision came about last summer, when Ball extended his overall deal with the network.
"When we extended our 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," a statement from the network reads. "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."
Characterizing the arrangement as " the best possible world for both HBO and Alan Ball," the network added that Ball will "remain available as executive producer to consult and advise on" the series, and "will be free to develop shows for both HBO and (its sibling network) Cinemax." (Ball is executive producing "Banshee," Cinemax's first in-house series, is slated to begin production this spring.)
“'True Blood' has been, and will continue to be, a highlight of not only my career but my life," Ball said of his sexy, blood-sucking creation. "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.”