Cementing a place as the week's least shocking television development: HBO has renewed "True Blood" for a fifth season.
 
Well duh.
 
The 12-episode fifth season of "True Blood" will begin production in Los Angeles later this year and will premiere on HBO in the summer of 2012.
 
"I am thrilled that 'True Blood' continues to enjoy a phenomenal reception from both subscribers and critics," states HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo. "Alan Ball and his gifted team have devised the greatest thrill ride on TV."
 
With "True Blood" retaining its position as HBO's most popular original program, the renewal was hardly a surprise and its inevitability only increased when Alan Ball recently closed a deal to return for another season.
 
"I remain amazed and delighted by the enthusiasm of our viewers," states Ball. "I can’t imagine having more fun than this."
 
Based on the Sookie Stackhouse novel series by Charlaine Harris, "True Blood" features a vast ensemble led by Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard and more actors than could adequately be listed in this space. 
 
The series was nominated for four Emmys last month. The fourth "True Blood"  season, which premiered in June, passed its half-way point last week and will reach its conclusion on September 11.