Exclusive David Simon Q&A (page 17)
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Exclusive David Simon Q&A Q: How did your famous writing staff work out for you in season 4?  [anonymous]

David Simon and George Pelecanos A: We missed having George around all the time, as he went back to his book career full-bore, having signed a big-ass book contract and feeling like he needed to really deliver on the next novel, which, having read "The Night Gardener," I can say that he has.

George did write the season's penultimate episode for us, though.  Price and Lehane also stepped up as they are wont to do.  At this point, it's business as usual for these guys and I feel that we are even more at ease with each other as now, that we all know what to expect.  All of us have the tone of the show in our heads and can execute on behalf of all of the characters.  I have nothing but admiration for their talent and professionalism in seeing this project through the way they do.

Eric Overmyer stepped in for George and is a total pro as well.  His two scripts are stellar, particularly since he had the job of synthesizing the Election Day script, which is the moment where the political story is at its height, yet all other plotlines are progressing as well.  It was a neat trick.  For those of you wishing to learn a little more about the mysterious Mr. Overmyer, get hold of his playwriting, notably "On The Verge." I will also remark that Eric is the only member of our writing team to successfully pen a musical.  He runs television shows (Law & Order, Homicide as a supervising producer) because he can, but he dances with the English language because he must.  The motherfucker can write.

Eric did much of the labor on McNulty's domestic arc this year, which feels smartly fleshed out in several key scenes.  In addition, my writing partner on The Corner and one of my best friends going back to our time on the student newspaper at College Park, David Mills, helped us break story this year and wrote the second episode.  Some may remember Mills from his Emmy-nominated work on NYPD: Blue and the short-lived, but deserving Kingpin on NBC.  We tried to keep David for a second episode, but he has a development deal and continues to bang at the doors of network television, trying for his own big score.  I keep telling him that premium cable is the shiznit and to come back East, but every time I get to L.A. he looks a little more at home.  I worry for the man.

Playwright Kia Corthron, whose work Breath, Boom captured the voices of adolescent girl gangbangers, contributed a script that achieved a lot with the voices of our young actors, and Zorzi guided the political story and contributed a script on his own this year.  Chris Collins, our script coordinator and a staffwriter on the show, worked through the Bubbles storyline in many episodes.

Q: What can you tell us about your new HBO series?  [Jim King]

A: Nothing much yet.  The aforementioned Eric Overmyer, a producer on The Wire this year and an old friend from Homicide: Life on the Street, is a resident of New Orleans and I love that city and have been a constant visitor for many years.  Even before Katrina, we asked HBO for the opportunity to write a series about the culture of music in New Orleans, centering the story on a working-class black neighborhood.  Katrina happened and the story seemed to gain a new import.

We have just started the research and we have a commitment from HBO for a pilot script only.  There is no green light on the project yet, but as ever, we are hopeful.

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