HBO Wants Another Taste of ‘True Blood’

HBO has renewed its vampire drama True Blood for a second season, the network said Wednesday.

Created by Six Feet Under’s Alan Ball, the series will begin production of new episodes early next year in Los Angeles, with their debut set for summer 2009.

“We are absolutely thrilled that the critics and our viewers have embraced True Blood,” Michael Lombardo, president of HBO’s Programming Group and West Coast operations, said in a prepared statement. “Alan Ball has done it again—made an addictive series that is unlike any other.”

The Sept. 7 debut episode has attracted more than 4 million viewers to date, while the premiere of the second episode Sept. 14 drew 1.8 million viewers, a 24% gain over the first week’s debut of 1.4 million.

HBO ordered 12 episodes of the show for the first season, but the number of installments for the second season is undetermined.

Mixing romance, suspense, mystery and humor, True Blood takes place in the not-too-distant future when vampires have come out of the coffin, thanks to the invention of mass-produced synthetic blood that means they no longer need humans for their fix. Set in a backwoods Louisiana town, the show follows the romance between waitress Sookie Stackhouse (played by Anna Paquin), who can read minds, and 173-year-old vampire Bill Compton (played by Stephen Moyer).

Ball, creator of the Emmy-winning HBO series Six Feet Under, created and executive produced the show, as well as wrote and directed episodes of the series, which is based on the popular Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris.