HBO has officially put a stake in the heart of "True Blood."
 
The premium cable network announced on Tuesday (September 3) that the upcoming seventh season of "True Blood" will be the its last.
 
As was previously announced, the 10-episode seventh season with premiere next summer. It will be the second season of Brian Buckner's tenure as showrunner, a gig he took over midway through the sixth season, replacing Alan Ball, who originally developed the series based on Charlaine Harris' bestselling vampire series.
 
"'True Blood' has been nothing short of a defining show for HBO,” blurbs HBO Programming President Michael Lombardo. "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."
 
Ball adds, "From the moment I read Charlaine’s books, I thought there was potential for something really special. Then our amazing writers, cast and crew brought her world to life in a way that exceeded my wildest expectations. I’m deeply grateful to HBO for being true partners and collaborators, and, of course, to the viewers who chose to spend Sunday nights in Bon Temps with us."
 
"True Blood" completed its sixth season two weeks ago with a finale that drew slightly over 4.1 million viewers in its initial summer airing, the first finale since Season 1 not to draw over 5 million viewers, a number that peaked in Season 3. A fourth season episode drew over 5.5 million live viewers, a series high.
 
The Season 6 finale set up a season that returns the action to Bon Temps and concentrates on core characters, or at least that's what Buckner has promised.
 
Buckner states, "I feel enormously proud to have been a part of the 'True Blood' family since the very beginning. 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."
 
"True Blood" will have aired 80 episodes when its run ends.