IndieWire has a report out from the Tribeca Film Festival that David Simon, who just concluded TREME last year for HBO, will not be going forward with his CIA series. The concept, that has been in development for quite a while now, is LEGACY OF ASHES by Tim Weiner; it is a history of the Central Intelligence Agency. During a panel discussion held at the festival Mr. Simon let forth some information of interest to HBO fans regarding this project. He stated –
“I’ve got a story that I’d love to do which I’ve been working on for eight or nine years, which is the history of the CIA, which would basically be America’s foreign policy footprint.”
“But it’s 70 years of period-piece filming, it’s all over the world, there’s a lot of CGI. Scene I, Act I is Berlin after the war, in total wreckage. And HBO goes, ‘Listen, it was all fun when we were giving him $20 million and he was making THE WIRE and no one was watching, but do you take us for fools?’ They’re looking at what the plausible revenue stream [would be] with all the downloads and BitTorrent. The window of this Golden Age of Television might have a point where it snaps shut on your fingers, because we’re talking like a Hollywood studio. ‘Can we get James Franco? If we get James Franco, you can make it.”
I have to second the opinion of my source and say that that is a downer. HBO won’t sink money into this project because Mr. Simon has been known to generate low viewer loyalty to his works. That is a fact we cannot dispute, THE WIRE and TREME were not big numbers for the channel. David Simon could shop it elsewhere but we want him at HBO, don’t we? If the CIA project doesn’t come to fruition then, how about entertaining another option? This writer hopes they don’t scare him away from Home Box Office altogether. Do you agree?