True Blood Is Practically Renewed, But Alan Ball's Role May Shrink

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HBO paraded its wares before a crowd of grumpy journalists yesterday at the summer TCAs (the Television Critics Association press tour, which thirsty critics also refer to as the annual Alcohol Poisoning Whirlwind), and True Blood was one of the centerpieces of the network's presentation. Naturally, creator and showrunner Alan Ball was there to chat about the show.

The biggest nugget of information Ball had to share was good news for fans: He's signed a multi-year deal with HBO, practically guaranteeing a fifth season of the vampire drama that's sucked in big ratings for the network and become legend around proverbial watercoolers (not that there was really any doubt). But there's a hitch, according to Deadline Hollywood, which reports that Ball is currently only signed on to fill the role of showrunner for one more year and might take a backseat should it when it continues, in order to develop new series.

True Blood without Alan Ball? Can that work? Ball's witty and kinky stamp has been part of the show since the opening scene of Season 1, and is a large part of what makes the show work. The flip side of that is Ball is the credited showrunner for Seasons 3 and 4, which many folks (myself included) think was/is garbage.

I love Alan Ball. His work on Six Feet Under and American Beauty was incredible. He also single-handedly brought HBO back from the dead with Seasons 1 and 2 of True Blood. But it's hard to tell whether True Blood will succeed or suffer without him at the helm.

What do you think, True Blood fans? Should Ball stick with the show he created? Or, given the recent decline in the show's quality, is True Blood ready for some new blood?

Follow writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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