A strange development from the set of HBO’s vampire drama True Blood: After creator Alan Balldeparted at the end of last year’s chaotic season, Mark Hudis — originally one of the show’s co-executive producers — took his place … only to now himself be replaced by the show’s writer and producer Brian Buckner. Buckner has been with the series since it began and seems a natural choice to take over from Hudis, who (according to the network) is leaving to focus on his overall deal with the network.
It’s not necessarily unusual for a showrunner to leave a long-established series behind, but neither is it necessarily a great sign. With Alan Ball, many fans felt his direction with the show (which is based, with varying degrees of faithfulness, on a book series by Charlaine Harris) left something to be desired, and his departure was seen as, potentially, a good thing for the series (Ball left primarily to focus more on his excellent Cinemax series Banshee. But Hudis departing before his first season as showrunner has even wrapped filming? Curious. Hit the jump for more on that, and what Hudis has said about the rest of the series.
There are rare occasions when a new television show establishes itself so well and gives such a sense of purpose that you feel you’ve been with it all along. Showtime’s Homeland was a fine example, with one of the best drama pilots I’ve ever come across. But Banshee, the new drama from Cinemax, is a close contender. It also has the surprising distinction, so far, of possibly being a contemporary heir-apparent to Deadwood.
The series comes from Alan Ball, who lest we forget, gave us American Beauty and Six Feet Under before he lost his way with True Blood. Banshee is a callback, thankfully, to his earlier work, focusing on that familiar territory of the underbelly of a sleepy, small town. The series’ title comes from the name of the town where the show is set, deep in rural Pennsylvania, in Amish country (or close to it). But despite the rural setting, there is plenty going on. Hit the jump for the specifics and more reasons to give this one a shot.
Current showrunner andTrue Blood series adapter Alan Ball came on stage in Ballroom 20 to introduce a new trailer for the ongoing fifth season. The panel for the popular HBO show inspired by the Charlaine Harris novels also featured cast members Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Deborah Ann Woll, Sam Trammell, Joe Manganiello and Kristin Bauer van Straten. The lively and hilarious panel not only teased events in the next season, but also touched on the new relationships that will be forged and acted as a memorial to Ball’s work on the series before he departs as showrunner at the end of the season. Hit the jump for my panel recap and click here for our continuing Comic-Con coverage.
On Season 5 of HBO’s True Blood, actor Giles Matthey plays Claude, a mysterious fairy who has caught the eye of vamp Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll). Distantly related to Sookie (Anna Paquin), he will be mentoring her in the ways of all things fairy, later on in the season.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, Giles Matthey talked about his crazy audition for the hit TV show and how he had no idea what role he was actually auditioning for, how he caught up on the previous four seasons and became an obsessive fan himself once he was cast, that he loves meeting fans of the show that are as excited about it as he is, how he sees Claude as loyal and protective, and how much fun his introduction into the story was. He also talked about what attracts him to a specific project and what inspired him to try his hand at acting, in the first place. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
Alan Ball has been a good sport and stuck with his steamy, bloody vampire series True Blood on HBO for a few years now, but as we learned in February, the Six Feet Under creator is leaving at the end of the fifth season. Now, Deadline has word on a new deal with HBO for True Blood co-executive producer Mark Hudis to take over the reins as the main executive producer and showrunner for the cable series if it gets renewed for a sixth season, a decision that likely won’t be made until at least the premiere of the fifth season on June 10th.
Apparently, Hudis’ new deal is for two-years and also includes a development aspect for him to create new shows on his own. Hudis has been a part of True Blood for season four and now season five and actually has a history with Ball having written some episodes of the comedy series Cybill together back in 1997 and 1998. However, the two have long been friends since working at AdWeek about 20 years ago. It sounds like Ball really trusts Hudis with his show, so hopefully that will settle down some of the fans who have been worried. Of course, they might not even care if this fifth season doesn’t deliver. Ball will still be involved with True Blood, but just not running the show. We’ll have to wait and see how this pans out after the fifth season starts this summer.
While everyone is currently hyped up for the return of HBO’s Game of Thrones, a little show called True Blood popped up to remind us that season five of the supernatural series starts this summer. We’ve previously brought you the first promotion and more recent teaser trailers from everyone’s favorite guilty pleasure, but now we have a teaser montage of clips from the upcoming season. With news that showrunner Alan Ball is overseeing this season but stepping down from the day-to-day responsibilities of the show for a possible sixth season, it will be interesting to see how this summer’s run turns out. Also, with new cast additionChristopher Meloni, the old gang of supes could be in for quite a shake up, but Christopher Heyerdahl steals the show with his chilling narration of the new season five promo. Hit the jump to check it out.
After what’s been years of successful action/comedy/horror films for Simon Pegg, the versatile actor is now reportedly looking to the small screen for a more dramatic project in L.A. Noir. Pegg is circling as a guest star in the pilot written and directed by Frank Darabont. He will join lead actor Jon Bernthal (The Walking Dead), as well as Neil McDonough (Minority Report) and Milo Ventimiglia (Heroes) in the TNT period drama. Set in the 1940s and 1950s, L.A. Noir chronicles the war between the LAPD’s Captain William Parker (McDonough) and the mobster, Mickey Cohen. Bernthal stars as Joe Teague, an ex-Marine turned LAPD cop who gets caught up in the conflict, while Ventimiglia stars as a former Marine who served with Teague in WWII and becomes a lawyer for the mob. THR reported on Pegg circling a guest role, but so far there are few details as to his character.
Hit the jump for a casting update on True Blood-creator Alan Ball’s Banshee.
With all the supernatural death and destruction we’ve come to love and expect on HBO’s True Blood, the last person you’d expect to be axed is showrunner Alan Ball. Word from HBO and Ball himself now confirms that if the show moves on into a sixth season, Ball will not be the day-to-day man. He does, however, have an overall contract with the network and is currently executive producing Banshee for sister station, Cinemax. It seems like a good deal for both parties: HBO will keep Ball in the loop while Ball will be (somewhat) free to go after other creative pursuits. The upcoming fifth season of True Blood starts this summer. Hit the jump to see what HBO and Ball had to say.
True Blood creator Alan Ball is gearing up to pull double-duty. While Ball is currently in the midst of filming the fifth season of the hit HBO supernatural series True Blood, the cable channel’s sister network Cinemax has commissioned as series order for Banshee on which Ball is the executive producer. The action drama centers on an “ex-convict and master thief who assumes the identity of the sheriff of Banshee, PA, where he continues his criminal activities even as he’s being hunted by the shadowy gangsters he had betrayed years earlier.” Deadline reports that Cinemax has given a 10-episode order to the series, and Emmy-winning director Greg Yaitanes (House) will helm the pilot.
I found the first few seasons of True Blood to be incredibly engaging, but the show has delved too deep into soap opera territory as of late for my taste. Ball is also developing a medical drama called Witchita at HBO, so it’ll be interesting to see how involved he becomes in Banshee and if/when he departs the showrunner position on True Blood.
HBO has recently landed some heavy hitters with the incomparable Tom Hanks and the bankable Alan Ball both developing projects for the network. Hanks, teamed with long-time producing partner Gary Goetzman, will reunite with the network for Players, a half-hour comedy following the lives of college athletes.
Ball is switching tactics from the campy, sexy success of True Blood to develop Wichita, an hour-long medical drama about a Kansas abortion doctor caught at the nexus of a political, cultural and ethical conflict. Ball will executive produce the project, based on the life of Dr. George Tiller, along with Devin Friedman, who authored the related GQ article “Savior vs. Savior.” Hit the jump for more on both projects.
Prior to the HBO presentation at the Television Critics Association Press Tour, the network’s Co-President Richard Plepler and President of Programming Michael Lombardo took some time to discuss where they’re at with the development of some of their upcoming projects, what they’d like to improve on with their programming, their desire to keep Alan Ball around as showrunner on True Bloodand, of course, lots of Game of Thronestalk. Here are the most interesting points:
If they could do 12 episodes of Game of Thrones, they would, but they feel the quality of the series would suffer for it.
They’re optimistic in being able to carry the Game of Thrones story through to the end, and completely believe in and trust the vision for the series.
Alan Ball is definitely signed on as showrunner for Season 5 of True Blood, and they hope that he will stay for as long as it’s on the air.
The new Michael Mann/David Milch series Luck, centered around a horse-racing track, will premiere in January 2012.
Boardwalk Empire returns September 25th with 12 episodes and Bored to Death returns October 10th with 8 episodes.
Even though Michael Lombardo is not a fan of the fantasy genre, and he hasn’t actually read George R.R. Martin’s books, he loves what David Benioff and Dan Weiss have done with Game of Thrones.
In a massively attended panel, the cast and creator of the ever-popular HBO series True Blood teased audience members with scenes from the current season and hints about upcoming seasons. Attended by Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer and Alan Ball, as well as Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman), Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse), Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton), Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette), Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica Hamby), Kristin Bauer van Straten (Pam) and Kevin Alejandro (Jesus), the cast took fan questions as well as shedding some light on some interesting turns we can expect in the quaint town of Bon Temps. Hit the jump to check out the Q&A.
[Update: HBO has uploaded a new trailer. Watch it after the break.]
True Blood hasn’t become a breakout hit by resting on its laurels. Each season seemingly reinvents the wheel: taking another in the series of Sookie Stackhouse novels and interpreting it in a way that places its characters in an entirely new light. Season 3 has its ups and downs, but – as the new DVD set shows – when it hits its stride, it can’t be beat. Hit the jump for my full review.
HBO has announced two extremely exciting panels that will appear at this year’s Comic-Con: Game of Thrones and True Blood. The cable channel’s new hit series Game of Thrones is making its first appearance at the convention. George R.R. Martin, who wrote the books off of which Thrones is based and serves as a producer/writer on the show, will be moderating the panel. Showrunners David Benioff and D.B Weiss will be joined by stars Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Jason Momoa and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau will appear at the panel which is scheduled for Thursday, July 21st, just days before season two begins production.
Additionally, Alan Ball’s True Blood is making its fourth consecutive appearance at the Con, with Ball and stars Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Kevin Alejandro, Kristin Bauer van Straten, Nelsan Ellis, Joe Manganiello and Deborah Ann Woll scheduled to appear at the panel on Friday, July 22nd. Hit the jump to read HBO’s full press release.