This bites: After 4 seasons, True Blood loses creator and head writer

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Dec 16, 2012, 12:07 PM EST

As we prepare for the fifth season of HBO's sinful little vampire show, it's clear that True Blood the series shows no signs of slowing down. Sadly, it seems the same can't be said for series creator and head writer Alan Ball, who's just plain tuckered out from hanging with the creatures of the night.

Rumors of Ball's departure from the series began circulating early Friday, and then were confirmed Friday afternoon by Forbes' Roger Friedman. Friedman cites "exhaustion" as the chief explanation for Ball's departure from the show, which he developed from Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels. But even though he's no longer planning to lead the series, Ball seems to be willing to at least hang around in some capacity.

"Ball will still be with the show, I'm told, but a new regime will guide the fates of the characters into their new season," Friedman said. "This could also very well be a money issue, as series tend to get more and more expensive as they drag on."

That seems to indicate that season four was Ball's last season as the guiding force of the show, but we don't yet know who will be stepping in to fill that void. Ball's co-executive producer Gregg Fienberg, who's been with the show since season two, is probably a good guess, but HBO hasn't said anything about any of these developments yet, so we'll just have to wait and see.

What this means for Ball's future at HBO isn't clear. He's been making money and winning accolades for the network since he created Six Feet Under in 2001, so it's doubtful they'll want to let him leave altogether. As for the show, could this regime change spell a new kind of series beginning with season five? That's also still unclear, but we only have to wait until the summer to find out.

(via Forbes)