At the TCA presentation today, HBO officially announced that they’ve picked up True Blood for a third season, set to debut in June 13, 2010. Not that there was any doubt, what with approximately 11 million viewers tuning in each week, but it’s still nice to hear it for certain!
Looking for when True Blood premieres in your country? The latest information is posted here.
HBO has already renewed the show for season 4.
Updated 09.21.09: Judging by the 400+ comments on this thread, True Blood fans aren’t thrilled about waiting until June for the new season. Yes, it does seem like a long time to wait, especially when we’re used to only having a 3-month summer break between seasons on broadcast TV. Let me explain why True Blood is different:
- The hiatus gives Alan Ball & co. time to create a quality show. Unlike broadcast television, shows on premium cable prefer to have all or most of their season “in the can” before the season premiere. Most of True Blood‘s first season had been filmed before it premiered in September 2008 (they shot the season finale the week of the premiere). The premiere of season 2 was moved up to June 2009, which meant they still had 3 episodes to film in addition to all of the promotional appearances, Comic Con, etc. that accompanied season 2. The season finale was completed (post-production) just days before it aired. It must have been exhausting for everyone involved to keep up with the production schedule as well as promotional commitments. By beginning production on season 3 earlier (December 2009) and keeping the premiere date in June, that should allow time to put together the quality show we’ve come to love.
- A long hiatus is NOT a death knell for this show. HBO has proven that if a show is good, the audience will return. Case in point: the hiatus between seasons 1 and 2 was seven months, which allowed additional viewers to discover True Blood and get hooked. As a result, the second season exploded, doubling its ratings and becoming the second highest-rated show ever on HBO. It also became a pop culture phenomenon, grabbing mainstream attention from Newsweek to late night talk shows.
- Long breaks and shorter seasons are becoming more and more accepted on US television. Consider 24 on Fox – it only airs from January-May, meaning there’s a 7-8 month hiatus every year. NBC won’t air the next season of Chuck until January 2010, 8 months after its season finale at the end of April 2009. On cable, it’s normal for a show to air a 12-13 episode season during the summer (i.e. The Closer, Warehouse 13), then take a break for 9 months. This model isn’t new to our international friends who are used to seeing 6-12 episode seasons once every year or so, meaning new content is on year ’round. And on that note, True Blood is not the only original programming on HBO, therefore they must make room for other shows to air.
So, my friends, do not despair about the long wait between seasons. We will not be bombarding HBO with demands to move season 3 earlier, nor will we accept comments calling for that. We will respect the creative process, enjoy the episodes we do have, perhaps re-read (or read for the first time!) the Sookie Stackhouse novels, and bring you a series of recommendations for things to watch/read/listen to during the hiatus so that these months will fly by.