‘Treme’ may end after four seasons

Simon tells New Orleans paper he could envision show concluding

The fourth season may be the last for the HBO drama “Treme.”

Exec producer David Simon told the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s Dave Walker earlier this week that he recently sent HBO a memo stating he believes four seasons would be the appropriate time to end the show, assuming HBO would be willing to greenlight a fourth season.

Show has never been a ratings hit but HBO programming topper Michael Lombardo and co-prexy Richard Plepler have long supported Simon’s vision of the sprawling ensembler that depicts the hardships residents of New Orleans have endured in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

In a interview earlier this year with Walker, Plepler said of “Treme”: “Here’s what we have said to David. We want David to finish his novel. He’s writing a novel (with ‘Treme’). We, as beneficiaries of his art, want him to finish the completion of his artistic expression.

“When he tells us he’s finished with his artistic expression of this, that’s when we’re done, and then we’ll turn to him and say, ‘What’s next?'”

Season two opened to 600,000 viewers in its initial airing, and 2.2 million for the week after multiple showings, on demand and DVR play. In comparison, the premiere of “Boardwalk Empire” garnered 10.2 million for the cumulative total in its first week in 2010.

Shooting began this week on season three, which will likely air in the spring if it follows previous programming patterns.

Ensemble stars Wendell Pierce, Khandi Alexander, Kim Dickens and Melissa Leo. Simon exec produces with Nina K. Noble, Eric Overmyer, Carolyn Strauss and George Pelecanos.