HBO Renews True Blood

Not that there was ever much doubt about it, but HBO made it official Monday, renewing its current flagship series, True Blood, for a fourth season. The third season began on June 13, with ratings for the premiere up significantly over Season Two.

"We're looking forward to more chills from [creator/executive producer] Alan Ball and his gifted team next year," said HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo in a statement announcing the renewal.

The series fits nicely into the June-September lull on the major networks, and plans are for Season Four to likewise air in the summer of 2011.

With its massive cast and its ability to mine the Sookie Stackhouse novels of Charlaine Harris for source material, True Blood could turn out to be practically immortal by the standards of pay cable, if not by vampire standards.