June 15, 2013 10:00am PT by Lesley Goldberg
Alan Ball Prepping Another HBO Drama; Shares Advice for New 'True Blood' Showrunner
More than a year after stepping down as showrunner on HBO's vampire drama True Blood, Alan Ball is getting back to his roots.
The Oscar- (American Beauty) and Emmy-winning (Six Feet Under) writer has been using the time wisely, putting pen to paper again in a big way.
"I'm just writing for the love of writing, getting back to what it used to be with just me and the computer," Ball tells The Hollywood Reporter at Tuesday's season-six premiere party for True Blood.
"I have a series idea that I'm working on and writing on spec and have two screenplays I'm trying to put together. And I'm working on another one, and then I have another one that's halfway finished," he says. "[The show] is unlike either Six Feet Under or True Blood; it's very different. I'd definitely say it's a drama, but it's too early to talk about."
Following five years speaking in front of hundreds of people and doing countless interviews at the annual bash to launch the Anna Paquin vampire drama, Ball was considerably more at ease without the pressure of introducing the season to industry insiders.
"I can just relax and have fun; I don't have to give the speech, I don't have to worry about my voice going out, I don't have to worry about forgetting somebody's name, and I can sit and watch the show as an audience member, which is really fun," he says.
This season, writer-producer Brian Buckner -- who has been with the series since its first year -- is taking over as showrunner after replacing Mark Hudis, who was set to take over the show from Ball.
"I told him, 'I'm available but I know that you can do it, and call me if you need me,'" Ball states. "But I'm not going to try to shoehorn in there. I left the show because I needed a year off, and I think they're doing great work. My advice is when you get overwhelmed, remember it's just a television show. It's a big television show and a really hard one to put together, but don't let it destroy your life."
True Blood premieres Sunday, June 16 at 9 p.m. on HBO.