On the heels of an unconfirmed report by Forbes that Ball would be stepping down due to “exhaustion” after the show’s upcoming fifth season, HBO released the following statement: “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. This is the best possible world for both HBO and Alan Ball.”
“True Blood has been, and will continue to be, a highlight of not only my career but my life,” added Ball. “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.”
The cabler went on to note that Ball “will remain available as executive producer to consult and advise.” Additionally, the change will free him up “to develop new shows for both HBO and Cinemax.” Ball is already at work on a new series for Cinemax, Banshee, which begins production this spring. He’s also developing a medical drama about an abortion doctor for HBO.
HBO has yet to announce a premiere date for True Blood‘s fifth season, but insiders say it’s expected to bow in June.