One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented as part of The Paley Center for Media’s 28th William S. Paley Television Festival in Los Angeles. Held this year at the Saban Theatre in Beverly Hills, the festival celebrates the excellence and diversity of American television and is dedicated to television’s creative community. This evening celebrates “True Blood,” the drama series based on the “Southern Vampire Mysteries” book series by Charlaine Harris about the quirky residents of a small Louisiana town where a young waitress -- deemed a freak because she can read minds -- falls in love with a vampire.

Host Betsy Scolnik (vice president, The Paley Center for Media in Los Angeles) offers opening remarks and acknowledges William C. Paley, son of the festival’s namesake, and his sons. Scolnik then brings moderator Debra Birnbaum (editor-in-chief, TV Guide magazine) to the stage, followed by creator and executive director Alan Ball. Ball provides brief background on the show, before introducing a clip package and sneak-peek at a scene from the upcoming fourth season.

Scenes included in the clip package include: examples of the characters’ many powers; romantic encounters; Bill and Sookie’s first meeting; opinions on vampires in society; background on the main characters, including Sookie’s telepathic powers; her romantic entanglement with Bill; her vain, shallow ladies-man brother Jason; Sookie’s quick-tempered, troubled best friend Tara; Tara’s charismatic jack-of-all-trades cousin Lafayette; the overprotective vampire Bill; his “ward” Jessica; the powerful thousand-year-old vampire “sheriff” Eric; Eric's dislike of humans and desire for Sookie; and shapeshifting bartender Sam and his aversion to vampires. A short scene from an upcoming episode is shown in which Hoyt, Jessica, and Pam scuffle with a group of Christian anti-vampire activists.

Birnbaum then introduces the panelists: Ball; Joe Manganiello (Alcide Herveaux); Kristin Bauer van Straten (Pam De Beaufort); Kevin Alejandro (Jesus Velasquez); Nelsan Ellis (Lafayette Reynolds); Deborah Ann Woll (Jessica Hamby); Jim Parrack (Hoyt Fortenberry); Todd Lowe (Terry Bellefleur); Carrie Preston (Arlene Fowler); Chris Bauer (Andy Bellefleur); Ryan Kwanten (Jason Stackhouse); Marshall Allman (Tommy Mickens); Sam Trammell (Sam Merlotte); Rutina Wesley (Tara Thornton); Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northman); Stephen Moyer (Bill Compton); and Anna Paquin (Sookie Stackhouse).

The panelists discuss topics which include: the actors' hopes for the co-stars they'll work with closely on the show; the frequent on-screen nudity of many of the actors; Manganiello’s feelings about the strong response to his werewolf character; Manganiello's sense of being “part of the family” after joining the cast; the memorable one-liners spoken by van Straten’s charactert; the questionable trustworthiness of Alejandro’s character Jesus; the many bawdy t-shirts worn by Lafayette; whether the romance between Hoyt and Jessica is sustainable; the possible evil within Arlene’s unborn child, fathered by serial killer Rene (Michael Raymond-James); Andy’s experience with “V,” the synthetic blood substitute used in the show, and its surprising properties; Jason’s transition to becoming a cop at the end of season three; the troublemaking, shapeshifting character Tommy; the “slim” chances of Sam finding love in the upcoming season; Wesley’s sense of “a new Tara” in season four who is “more stable”; how Eric is “lost” after the death of his vampire mentor Godric (Allan Hyde); the possible return of Godric in flashbacks or dreams and the advantages of working with extremely old characters; the Essex-born Moyer’s infamous pronunciation of “Sookie”; Ball’s talent at “portraying” assorted characters at table reads; the bizarre head-twisting sex scene between Bill and his “maker” Lorena (Mariana Klaveno), with the help of an on-set “puppet”; Moyer’s experience with and interest in directing; Sookie’s newly-discovered faerie powers; the pros and cons of a relationship between Sookie and Alcide; the potential for a relationship between Sookie and Eric, as written in the books; the guest stars featured on the show; the challenges of working with animals, including a recalcitrant armadillo; the phenomenon of the show’s “hardcore fans”; making changes from the novels while staying true to their “spirit”; whether Bill and Sookie are “soulmates” like their married actors, Paquin and Moyer; the talent of actor Denis O’Hare, who portrayed Russell Edgington, the vampire king of Mississippi, and his return in the fourth season; strange fan encounters, including biting requests and marriage proposals; and Paquin being at ease with autograph seekers who feign an interest in her as a means of getting to Moyer.

Questions from the audience then lead to a discussion of the following topics: whether the upcoming season will contain an accurate portrayal of Wicca with the introduction of witches; if the books’ “faerie godfather” character of Niall Brigant will make an appearance; a potential second cameo from the books’ author; Manganiello’s interpretation of Alcide as being like the mopey donkey Eeyore from “Winnie the Pooh”; a fan’s personal thank-you to Skarsgard; potential for a relationship between Lafayette and Eric; the challenges and nuances of the “laconic” Louisiana accent; the cast’s favorite lines of dialogue; and the favorable reaction to new writer Mark Hudis.


  • DATE: March 5, 2011 7:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:40:49
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 104740
  • GENRE: Seminars


    • Betsy Scolnik … Host
    • Debra Birnbaum … Moderator
    • Alan Ball … Panelist
    • Joe Manganiello … Panelist
    • Kristin Bauer van Straten … Panelist
    • Kevin Alejandro … Panelist
    • Nelsan Ellis … Panelist
    • Deborah Ann Woll … Panelist
    • Jim Parrack … Panelist
    • Todd Lowe … Panelist
    • Carrie Preston … Panelist
    • Chris Bauer … Panelist
    • Ryan Kwanten … Panelist
    • Marshall Allman … Panelist
    • Sam Trammell … Panelist
    • Rutina Wesley … Panelist
    • Alexander Skarsgard … Panelist
    • Stephen Moyer … Panelist
    • Anna Paquin … Panelist
    • William C. Paley … Guest
    • Charlaine Harris
    • Mark Hudis
    • Allan Hyde
    • Mariana Klaveno
    • Denis O'Hare
    • Michael Raymond-James