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“The Wire” and Emmy: ‘The only thing that matters is the work’

DavidsimongenkillHard to believe that an award designed to honor excellence in television could elude “The Wire” during its incredible five-season run.

The critical raves reached a new peak earlier this year when “Wire” wrapped up with its 10-seg fifth season, which featured razor-sharp writing, a hell of a potboiler story involving the media, the cops, the courts, the dealers, local and state pols, smarmy defense attorneys, etc., all while tying up the series’ loose narrative ends. (I choked up at the deaths of Omar and Proposition Joe.)

It was not really much of a surprise that the show was snubbed in its last year of eligibility for the top Emmy prize of drama series. It did earn a writing nom for creators David Simon (pictured left) and Ed Burns for the finale seg, “30.” I may be worked up about the snub in the series category (especially since we know it made the top 10 final list), but one “Wire” fan who is not is Simon.

Simon took the time to call Thursday afternoon to deliver a carefully considered comment on his show and the lack of Emmy action over the years. He likened it to one of the major plot threads of “Wire’s” last season about the Baltimore Sun management turning a blind eye to journalistic malfeasance in the relentless pursuit of a Pulitzer.

“The last season of ‘The Wire’ included a critique of the prize culture in newspapering as being one of the many forces confronting and threatening contemporary journalism. I would have to be the biggest hypocrite on the planet to now suggest that whether or not a drama gets nominated for an award matters. The only thing that matters is the work.”Wendellpierce

Speaking of work, Simon is gearing up for his next HBO project after Iraq war mini “Generation Kill,” bowed this week. His drama project “Treme,” set in post-Katrina New Orleans, got the greenlight to pilot last week. Simon wouldn’t give up too many details about the project that he co-wrote with Eric Overmyer, but “Wire” lovers, take note: Wendell Pierce (pictured right), aka Det. Bunk Moreland, is attached.

The project should hit home for Pierce, a New Orleans’ native whose parents lost their home in the Katrina devastation. Simon demurred on the details of Pierce’s character, but he did offer this tantalizing tidbit: “We made him buy a trombone.”

Simon is working with casting director Alexa Fogel, an alum of “Wire” and “Generation Kill,” on filling out the rest of the players. He’s shooting for a start date in February or so.

“We’ll probably be filming right at the edge of hurricane season,” Simon says.

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