"True Blood" will be back for a fifth season next summer, HBO announced Thursday.
The announcement shouldn't come as a surprise: Creator Alan Ball announced two weeks ago that he had signed a deal to return for another season of the vampire drama and was already working on stories.
Also read: 'True Blood' Star Anna Paquin on 'Really Dirty Vampire Sex'
The show has also sucked up viewers: Its fourth-season debut last month grabbed a combined 6.4 million viewers for its premiere and an encore later in the night.
Here's HBO's announcement:
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 11, 2011 – HBO has renewed the hit show TRUE BLOOD for a 12-episode fifth season, it was announced today by Michael Lombardo, president, HBO Programming. Created by Alan Ball, the series will begin production of new episodes later this year in Los Angeles, with debut set for summer 2012.
“I am thrilled that TRUE BLOOD continues to enjoy a phenomenal reception from both subscribers and critics,” noted Lombardo. “Alan Ball and his gifted team have devised the greatest thrill ride on TV.”
“I remain amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm of our viewers,” says Ball. “I can’t imagine having more fun than this.”
Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, the Emmy®-nominated show takes place at a time when vampires have come out of the coffin, and follows the on-and-off romance between waitress and part-faerie Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin), who can hear people’s thoughts, and 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer). Series creator Alan Ball (creator of the Emmy®-winning HBO series “Six Feet Under”) is also an executive producer of the show, which is based on the bestselling Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.
The 12-episode fourth season of TRUE BLOOD, which launched June 26, has inspired critical raves, with USA Today calling it “exuberantly entertaining,” as well as hailing the “superb crew of writers and actors,” while the Washington Post called the show “a rollicking good scream” and “addictive.”
TRUE BLOOD recently received four Emmy® nominations, including Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series (Alfre Woodard).