Sign of the times? True Blood S6 will be shorter than usual

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Dec 17, 2012, 3:27 PM EST

Last Sunday, True Blood ended its fifth season with a bang—literally. The gorefest was ratings gold, solidifying the show's following. Earlier this summer, HBO ordered another season, but with one major change.

In an interview with TVGuide, creator Alan Ball revealed that True Blood's renewal isn't all it's cracked up to be. The show's usual 12-episode order was cut due to several factors, one of them being star Anna Paquin's (Sookie) pregnancy. "We're moving production to January to accommodate her," said Ball.

If you noticed, toward the end of last season Sookie's tight shirts and short shorts were M.I.A. But she's not the only reason True Blood is taking a hit. Ball continued, "There will only be 10 shows next season, partly because of Anna and partly because of the economics."

True Blood's finale scored 6.3 million viewers (combined airings from Sunday) and was the highest-rated episode of the season. With numbers like that, we wonder what type of "economics" Ball is referring to. Either way, it's no longer his issue. After season five, he left the show to focus on other TV projects, like the upcoming Cinemax series Banshee.

Next season, True Blood producer Mark Hudis will replace Ball as showrunner.

(via TVGuide)