Joe Manganiello has been cast as burly werewolf Alcide in the upcoming third season of "True Blood," a role HBO assures us will be crucial.
 
In Charlaine Harris' "The Southern Vampire Mysteries" series, Alcide Herveaux, a full-blooded werewolf, first comes into play in the third book, "Club Dead." In that novel, Eric (Alexander Skarsgård in the HBO series) enlists Alcide to help Sookie (Anna Paquin) track down the kidnapped Bill (Stephen Moyer).
 
Alcide had been considered one of the key new parts of the third season since creator Alan Ball mentioned his involvement in the fall.
 
Still yet-to-be cast is Debbie Pelt, Alcide's were-lync sometime-girlfriend.
 
While Manganiello will be a newcomer to some viewers, "One Tree Hill" fans will instantly recognize him as Bartender Owen. In addition to an arc on "How I Met Your Mother," Manganiello has been seen in the features "Behind Enemy Lines: Colombia" and, although we don't really remember him, "Spider-Man 3."