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Alcide is promoted to pack master and finds himself with an abundance of dating options.

True Blood

The Season 6 premiere is available on demand from June 17 until November 30, 2013, at HBO Canada On Demand and online at RogersAnyplaceTV.com. (You have until August 5 to catch up with Season 5, on demand.)

Every June, the internet teeters at the boiling point with countless spoiler alerts and mysteriously leaked (or intentionally “leaked”) nuggets of hot gossip from various “inside sources” about upcoming True Blood storylines. If even a quarter of the buzz is rooted in fact these days, we’ve got an enticing season ahead of us.

Season 6 is the first without creator Alan Ball at the helm, although Ball did let slip a couple of Season 6 snippets on his way out the door (Banshee-bound).

Bill will still be Bill, apparently, even though he morphed into Lilith after drinking her blood and exploding into a gooey mess. But the reincarnated ‘Billith’ will be something much more ferocious (with newfound powers), and there’s a good chance he’ll emerge as Bon Temps’ arch-villain, especially now that the divine Russell Edgington is finally, truly dead. (Well, we’ll see about that.)

The biggest question this season: Who the heck is Warlow? Could the 3,000-year-old vampire, who murdered the Stackhouse parents, be Queen Sophie-Anne or goody-goody Eric? We’re chomping at the bit – and so are Sookie and Jason.

What we do know is that shapeshifter Luna will be back and that Sookie lands herself a new man/faerie in the form of handsome English soap star Rob Kazinsky. And who is this sexy new vampire named Violet, who finds her way into Jason’s – y’know – heart?

Dutch Blade Runner star Rutger Hauer turns up as someone sinister named Niall, who may or may not be Sookie and Jason’s great-grandfather. And maybe, just maybe, Niall is actually Warlow! Oh, the anticipation is killing us.

Our man in Los Angeles, Ashley Collie, met with series star Joe Manganiello, who talks about the perks of werewolf Alcide being promoted to packmaster and what we can expect from Season 6.

A bigger, badder werewolf

Between Season 5 and Season 6, the cut-like-granite fitness buff Joe Manganiello, who plays fearsome but sensitive werewolf Alcide, put on 20 pounds of muscle for his role (alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger) in Sabotage (2014).

What does this muscle gain mean for Alcide?

I like to train hard then carve down for True Blood. But I am a lot bigger this year, in keeping with Alcide’s character. He becomes the pack master – it’s a bigger, badder wolf.

How does that impact Alcide’s relationships with female characters?

In his earlier relationships with Debbie and Sookie, he was a good guy. He’s been a one-woman dude at heart. He proposed to Rikki, to be his girlfriend, but got turned down. So he can move forward in good conscience as a single guy. But when you’re in charge of a pack, and you’re the alpha male, it’s oftentimes your duty to take care of the pack’s females. Let’s say, it’s good to be the pack master!

How is this season shaping up?

There’s a real effort to keep the show intimate – a return to the feeling of the first two seasons, which the viewers are really going to like. Overall, because there’s been this vampire war going on, anti-vampire sentiment has grown. It’s on Alcide how the pack should handle the changing climate regarding vampires. Also, watch for iconic Rutger Hauer… I was huge fan of Blade Runner and his performance as replicant Roy Batty. I actually skipped my high school prom because I went to see a re-release of Blade Runner. I went to a movie theatre on the south side of Pittsburgh, skipped my prom – to hell with it – and went to see Blade Runner instead. Fans of the show, and especially of the books, will be very excited to see what he’s done with his character, because it’s fascinating to watch him perform. To have someone iconic like him, it’s really wild.

• Broadcaster: HBO Canada

• Season 6 broadcast premiere: June 16 at 9 p.m. ET

• On demand until: November 30, 2013

• On demand at: HBO Canada On Demand and RogersAnyplaceTV.com

• Episodes in Season 6: 10 (rather than the regular 12)

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