HBO News Blog

What’s Next for HBO’s David Simon?

By Jacob Klein on Nov 11, 2013 to HBO News

david-simon-hboThere aren’t many storytellers in the world, let alone on television as dedicated to portraying the human experience as director David Simon.  As the final episodes of Treme air next month many fans are left wondering what the creator of The Wire will do next.  He’s spend over a decade with HBO and looks back fondly on his relationship with the network saying in an interview with EW:

“[…]That’s said with no lack of gratitude for HBO for having sponsored this kind of storytelling for more than a decade now. What we do is not a very profitable enterprise, and they’ve been very very tolerant, and very very supportive. They’ve been very liberal in terms of allowing the people involved in the production of these shows to find their own vision and try to execute. There’s a concomitant responsibility on our part to spend the money properly, and not to overspend, and to put every dollar on the screen that you can. It’s a two-way street. It’s not as if I feel creatively constricted at HBO.”

Given this mutual respect between Mr. Simon and HBO we assume the network will be interested in what he may do next.  But according to another recent interview it seems like David may be considering leaving television all together:

“I think it’s time to look at the medium and say, ‘What is possible?’ the same way filmmakers in features are asking what’s possible. Can you make a small movie any more on a human scale. Can you say something important about what happens between two people or do you have to put a gun in someone’s hand? … Here we weren’t machine-gunning people down. We weren’t ripping off people’s clothes.”

Perhaps a bit of a dig at some other HBO shows pulling in the ratings at the moment.  Could David Simon really be done telling stories on HBO?  If you weren’t already aware The Wire, though now loved and talked about in conversations about “the greatest television show ever”, was set to be cancelled a couple of times.  Simon has always struggled with the reality of the television business and it’s relationship to his work, even under HBO’s caring wing.  Here’s a bit more from the same interview:

“The question is whether anyone is interested in the kind of storytelling I want to do.  I know I could construct something that would sell. But can I sell a story that I want to stay with for four or five years?”

We believe you could, David!  Isn’t there a happy medium in there somewhere?  Something the people can love and get excited about but also looks at life on a very personal level?  The Wire and Treme didn’t get the credit or attention they deserved as so many great pieces of art didn’t.  Don’t let that stop you from telling another story!

We don’t have any inside information on Mr. Simon’s possible return to television post-Treme.  If you missed any of his HBO series’ give them a watch to show your support.  Check out The Wire, Generation Kill and Treme if you haven’t already.

What would you want to see from David Simon next?  Leave us a comment below with your thoughts.

  • sstarr52

    bring back a spin off of the wire. treme is my favorite if only for musicians this should be a part two…what about after treme a spinoff. i would love to see g
    the schools band grow.janets resturNt become famous, the bar scenes.i got tired of the lawyer taking up too much time and poor annie….she just got on my nerve.loved the big chief.he deserved a proper funeral. its just so much that could be added.hbo is so wrong for always stoping treme and the wire.i hope network calls simon to conti.ue.he is a great story teller.love his work

  • Jef Dinsmore

    All my go-to sources have come up blank, so I went straight to the man himself via his blog. Now none of these concepts are green-lit or even written yet, but are plotlines Simon has listed as “In Development.”

    This first concept is one that I did see something about elsewhere once upon a time and sounds interesting. It is called MANHUNT that is a miniseries he is said to be creating with Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on The Street and HBO’s OZ.) It is a nine-part series that begins with the second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln and concludes with the trial and execution of John Wilkes Booth’s conspirators.

    He also has listed – LEGACY OF ASHES about the history of the CIA; TIMES SQUARE a history of Mid-Manhattan and SHOW ME A HERO which is about the housing desegregation fight in the 1980s and 1990s that tore the city of Yonkers apart.

    One other concept is a return to Baltimore, Maryland with THE AVENUE. It is a history of the rise of heroin and cocaine as mass-market enterprises in Baltimore from 1951 to the cocaine epidemic that begins in the late 1980s.
    Which one of these will be converted to film? Which one will make it to HBO? I like the ideas behind MANHUNT; don’t forget Mr. Simon already gave us GENERATION KILL which was a miniseries. THE AVENUE’s return to Baltimore is also a must.

    Check out David Simon’s blog for yourself at davidsimon.com.

    • Thanks for the comment, Jef.

      These are interesting concepts some of which could be quite popular! Not sure why David is so hard on The Wire in terms of popularity. It took a while but people came around and if he did something similar it would be an instant hit this time.

      Treme is a tougher sell because it doesn’t have that “hook” that other shows have (he mentions blood, sex, fantasy, action etc) that appeals to the masses. But look at The Sopranos. Sure they dove into intangible ideas like the meaning of life, “being a good person”, crazy dreams and relationships with your mother. Hell they had a scene where the main character talks to his psychiatrist EVERY EPISODE. But it had that other element of action, suspense, some sex etc to help keep people engaged who aren’t otherwise interested in the deeper thoughts. It cut several ways and made it enjoyable to everyone.

      Im not saying Mr. Simon needs to change his work but there are story concepts that can both sell and touch people on a deeper level. In some ways it’s more noble for a storyteller to try and “trick” the normally shallow viewer into thinking about the deeper things in life.

      A spoonful of action/sex/fantasy helps the medicine go down.

      Either way I’ll watch whatever David puts out next because he’s a master of storytelling.

    • Cuban X Senators

      Well, now we know — HBO & Simon have agreed on SHOW ME A HERO.

      Jef, if you go back and read the blog more carefully, I think you’ll see that THE AVENUE is a book idea and not for tv in Simon’s conception.

      Also, while we shouldn’t forget that Simon gave us GENERATION KILL, he (& HBO) also gave us THE CORNER.










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