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'True Blood' to wrap after next season

"True Blood" stars Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, and Lucy Griffiths in season 5. Credit: HBO

"True Blood," a once-massive hit for HBO until (well) it became a little less massive over the last couple of seasons, will end next year, HBO just announced.

"'True Blood' has been nothing short of a defining show for HBO,” noted Michael Lombardo, president HBO programming in a statement. “Alan Ball took the books by Charlaine Harris, assembled a brilliant cast led by the magnificent Anna Paquin in the role of Sookie Stackhouse, and crafted a show that has taken its many devoted fans on an unforgettable journey. Alan passed the baton to Brian Buckner, who led our fantastic writers and crew in crafting a spectacular sixth season, and he will lead us through the seventh and final season of this amazing show. Together with its legions of fans, it will be hard to say goodbye to the residents of Bon Temps, but I look forward to what promises to be a fantastic final chapter of this incredible show.” 

A surprise? Sure! Er, make that "no." "Blood" -- at least for me -- still remains "must-watch" although even I -- a professional TV watcher, by the way -- tend to watch weeks, sometimes months later (still haven't seen the finale -- no spoilers, please). But "Blood" remains very much a fan favorite, and has the ratings (about 4.25 last season -- off a million from Ball's final season). Why end now? Always look to the money, and Ball -- the original creator -- is gone, but it's also possible the cast has other thoughts about future employment opportunities, too. (Stephen Moyer, for example, will star in NBC's "The Sound of Music," about as radical a transition as one could imagine.)

The final season, the seventh, will comprise 10 episodes.

Seven seasons? Sounds about right.

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