HBO Renews 'True Blood' for Season 5

The fifth season goes into production later this year and will debut in 2012.

Fangtastic news, Truebies! HBO has renewed its hit vampire series, True Blood, for Season 5.

The network announced Thursday that it has ordered 12 episodes from the Alan Ball-created and executive produced series. Season 5 will go into production later this year and air in 2012. To date, the current Season 4 has averaged 12.6 million viewers per episode.

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“I am thrilled that True Blood continues to enjoy a phenomenal reception from both subscribers and critics,” says HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo. “Alan Ball and his gifted team have devised the greatest thrill ride on TV.”

Ball adds, “I remain amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm of our viewers. I can’t imagine having more fun than this.”

Season 4 has found the supernatural world of Bon Temps flipped upside down as human-vampire relations have taken a turn for the worst after last season's televised display of bloodthirst by Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare). And just as the new king, vampire Bill (Stephen Moyer) is appointed to help with the PR crisis, a new threat has showed her face.

A powerful and vengeful witch named Antonia has taken over the body of local medium, Marnie (Fiona Shaw). Antonia's power over the dead, referred to as necromancy, may be the biggest threat the vampires have faced in centuries. And in the last episode, Antonia/Marnie drove the vampires underground to bound themselves in silver chains as they awaited her spell forcing them to walk into the daylight and their death.

We have also seen the unraveling of the much-anticipated amnesia storyline for vampire Eric (Alexander Skarsgard), which has led to a heated romance with heroine, Sookie (Anna Paquin).

True Blood is based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. Joining Ball on the series are executive producer Gregg Fienberg, co-executive producers, Brian Buckner, Mark Hudis, Nancy Oliver, Raelle Tucker, Alexander Woo, and co-producer Christina Jokanovich.

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