By Tim Kenneally
LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - Brace yourselves, "True Blood" fans; the end is near.
HBO Programming president Michael Lombardo said on Tuesday that the vampire drama will end its run next year following its seventh season, which will launch next summer.
In a statement, Lombardo called "True Blood" — which saw the departure of showrunner Alan Ball prior to its sixth season — "nothing short of a defining show for HBO."
"‘True Blood' has been nothing short of a defining show for HBO," Lombardo said. "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."
Brian Buckner, who took the reins for the show's sixth season, said that he was "enormously proud" to be part of the series.
"I feel enormously proud to have been a part of the ‘True Blood' family since the very beginning," says Brian Buckner. "I guarantee that there's not a more talented or harder-working cast and crew out there, and I'd like to extend a personal heartfelt thanks to them for their dedication and tenacity over the years, especially this past year, as I stepped into a larger role. Thank you also to HBO for their unwavering support and of course to Alan Ball, whose genius enabled all of us to share in this incredible journey. Finally, a huge thank you to the most passionate fans in television. As we take a final walk through Bon Temps together, we will do our very best to bring Sookie's story to a close with heart, imagination and, of course, fun."