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Wire Creator Sets His Sights on New Orleans

David Simon is renowned for the way he has brought Baltimore to life — first as a crime reporter, then as a writer for Homicide: Life on the Street, and most recently as the man behind HBO's acclaimed drama The Wire, which recently finished production on its fifth and final season. Now, Simon is turning his attention to another American city: New Orleans, still struggling to rebuild after Hurricane Katrina's rampage.

In a fascinating New Yorker profile, Simon reveals that he's hoping to do a new series for HBO set in the Crescent City, a location he'd hoped to explore even before Katrina hit. His idea is to focus on the community of musicians in the city, with main characters based on some of the real personalities of the New Orleans music scene. But it would be "about" musicians the same way The Wire is "about" cops — which is to say, the musicians would be a piece of a larger puzzle, in this case "a visual argument for why cities matter."

New Orleans already has one series: This fall's K-Ville on Fox. But that series has struggled to be more than a generic crime drama — and Simon's work is anything but generic. On The Wire, he tosses viewers into the middle of a Baltimore that feels very alive, populated with local residents and authentic catchphrases. The show doesn't gloss over problems with drugs, political corruption, education, or any other social issues, but it also maintains a sense of humor and heart. Obviously, thinking about doing a series is a long way from getting one on the air — but if this project comes through, it might be just the show that brings the real New Orleans to light.


Fab_Kitty Fab_Kitty 10 years
btw, thanks for linking to the great New Yorker article, Buzz!
Fab_Kitty Fab_Kitty 10 years
As a huge fan of The Wire, word of any new project by Simon makes me excited. Yay! He and his creative team are first and foremost thoughtful about the subjects they portray, knowing that most stories have multiple sides to be told. In regards to whether The Wire makes people not want to visit Baltimore, that's an interesting idea. I have close family in Baltimore and they're the ones who introduced me to the series. Since getting hooked, I've never hesitated to visit them. Sure Baltimore has a dark history from which it's still slowly trying to recover, but I knew that before watching the show. I also knew the show would be focusing on urban poverty and I think it's done a good job (esp. in the political and real estate development story lines) of proving there's more to B'more than its drug woes.
acemonkey acemonkey 10 years
I am from Baton Rouge and K-Ville has made a mockery out of New Orleans. It's just bad. They need to cancel it. Hopefully, David Simon will make New Orleans look good. I love New Orleans and I want everyone else to feel the same way.
syako syako 10 years
Like I said, I've never seen the Wire. I just know that we're doing enough ourselves to scare people away (like not fighting crime and letting people get away with "misdemeanor" murders and re-electing criminals) - that we don't need any more help from a TV show. On the other hand, if it's a positive show, that would be greatly welcomed.
purplebaltogirl purplebaltogirl 10 years
i can see what people mean about the wire, but as a lifelong baltimorean i have always been very proud to have that show based in my city. EVERY city has those problems of drugs, corruption, poverty, etc. especially cities on the east coast. DC for example was for years at the top of the heap as far as murders, but as the previous poster says it has a ton of tourism. listen- the area of baltimore that the wire shows is about 1/100th of the city as a whole. i am glad the show highlights the problems of the lower class and is not afraid to do so, but anyone who watches that show and is discouraged from visiting the city is crazy. baltimore is not DC or any other larger city b/c it is a SMALL city- compared with similar sized cities like cleveland and pittsburgh there is a GREAT tourism district with the inner harbor, fells point, camden yards sports complex, national aquarium, tons of shopping and dining, etc. i'm sure david simon will tell a compelling and necessary story in N.O. just as he has done here.
tiabia tiabia 10 years
Syako...I can tell you that as a DC-Native and a resident of New Orleans for 4 years (I attended Xavier), that New Orleans and Baltimore are far, far different cities, especially in terms of tourism. New Orleans is one of the more famous US cities, while Baltimore is not so well known. Even during New Orleans heighted crime-wave, tourism was still booming...the city draws people, and those people keep coming back. Baltimore really isn't that type of place...especially when 45 minute ride down 95 takes you to a competing city...the Nation's capitol!!!! I guess what I'm saying is that New Orleans has a reputation bigger than a television drama!!!
Entertainment Entertainment 10 years
syako — that's really interesting! And it's a good point, because I didn't exactly book tickets to Baltimore when I got into The Wire. Maybe this potential show's focus on musicians will make it lighter than the Baltimore one's focus on cops/drug dealers. It sounds like it would be more hopeful, anyway.
syako syako 10 years
Growing up in New Orleans I've always read the columnist Christ Rose. Here's what he has to say about The Wire (and how I assume he'd feel about hearing this news) "I remember when the show (K-Ville) was announced, it was described in some quarters as a New Orleans version of HBO's "The Wire," watered down for prime time network broadcast. This worried me. I've only seen "The Wire" once and I found it compelling, provocative, extremely edgy and inarguably entertaining but I also realize that no one who ever watched an episode turned to his or her significant other afterward and said: "What say we go visit Baltimore sometime soon?" "The Wire," quite frankly, makes Baltimore look like hell on earth." ---I just hope that this show about N.O. doesn't hurt tourism! We need something to get people back visiting this great city. (Disclaimer: I've never watched The Wire, so I'm just basing this on Rose's opinion).
nicachica nicachica 10 years
I agree that K-Ville isn't living up to its promise. I was really rooting for it but the writers weren't able to do it justice. I think David Simon will do a great job with the series.
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