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Alan Ball: True Blood's loss is Banshee's gain


When Alan Ball quit vampire drama True Blood at the end of its fifth season, he knew he was taking a risk. Few US show creators choose their exits – indeed The Walking Dead appears to sack one a season – and to leave, as Ball did, for an as-yet-untested show is the biggest risk of all.

Luckily for Ball he got it right – Banshee, the crime drama on which he serves as executive producer, is a fast-paced story populated with over-the-top characters and great one-liners. In other words it's not a million miles from Bon Temps, although the new show's villains are bloodsuckers in the financial sense.

But Ball's leaving has been less good for his old show. New show runner Mark Hudis was replaced before season six had even finished filming and there are growing concerns over what will almost certainly be its final season. Similarly medical comedy Scrubs staggered through a poorly received final season after writer Bill Lawrence left to create Cougar Town, and the recent departure of Tucker Cawley from stuttering comedy Up All Night marked the beginning of the end with most of the main cast signing up for new shows next season.

Meanwhile, rumours persist that Julian Fellowes will quit Downton Abbey to oversee US drama The Gilded Age if it is picked up for a series. If so, let's hope it won't spell the end for TV's foremost stately home. 'Banshee' starts on 29 April at 10pm on Sky Atlantic