By James Hibberd
Updated July 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM EDT

True Blood just took another step toward a fifth season renewal.

Alan Ball just told critics at TCA press tour that he’s staying with the show since his deal has been renewed. The showrunner shot down concerns he might leave HBO vampire hit at the end of the season. “No,” he said when asked if he’s leaving, explaining that he’s having a great time on the series.

Not that Blood returning (or a showrunner wanting to stay on a hit series, for that matter), is much of a surprise, but it’s certainly good to hear, especially in the wake of Frank Darabont’s surprise exit from The Walking Dead.

Read more:

Comic-Con 2011: ‘True Blood’ cast on wild fans, wild season, geeky interests

‘True Blood’: Alan Ball and Charlaine Harris discuss the shocking death of [SPOILER] — EXCLUSIVE

HBO: We won’t ax ‘Game of Thrones’ too soon