'The Wire' creator awarded MacArthur Fellowship
September 28th, 2010
05:05 PM ET

'The Wire' creator awarded MacArthur Fellowship

David Simon, a creator of the critically acclaimed HBO series “The Wire,” has been named among this year’s MacArthur Fellows.

Simon joins a group of 23 fellows announced Tuesday by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Each receives a no-strings-attached $500,000 grant to be distributed over five years.

This year’s chosen eclectic group includes an economist, an astrophysicist, musicians and an anthropologist.

In Simon’s biography on the MacArthur website, he is listed as an “Author, Screenwriter, and Producer crafting richly textured narratives that engage wide-ranging audiences and confront some of the most daunting challenges facing America’s urban centers.”

The former Baltimore Sun reporter found fame beyond his beloved city after his book “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets” was transformed into an NBC television show for which he served as a writer and producer after leaving the newspaper. He later co-wrote “The Corner,” which became an acclaimed HBO mini-series and was followed by the now cult-classic series, “The Wire.”

Simon is currently at work on another HBO project, “Treme,” which was picked up by the network for a second season after the series' first episode aired. (HBO is owned by the same parent company which owns CNN.)

Critics and fans have long decried that “The Wire” never received its due in either ratings or awards, but Simon told the Baltimore Sun that "The great value of this award is that it will make it easier for all of us to argue for stories that might not otherwise be perceived as popular television.”

He added, "I can't wave around Nielsen ratings and I can't wave around Emmy awards when I want to get these stories told. An award like this gives us more gravitas. It gives us a little more currency. And it indicates that this medium of television is capable of much more social good than has been demonstrated to this point."

(Full disclosure: The writer of this entry is a former co-worker of both Simon and his wife, award-winning novelist Laura Lippman.)

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soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Tom M Johnson

    Well deserved. Mr Simon is a talented and very decent man. Bravo!!

    September 29, 2010 at 1:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. d

    i loled at your disclosure. but good to hear, the wire is incredible and it well deserves this recognition

    September 29, 2010 at 1:21 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kickboxer86

    I didn't get to even see The Wire until season 4 (when I finally got HBO), but I loved it instantly. It's a shame it never quite got the love The Soprano's had, but it's all in the game.

    September 29, 2010 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. GZ

    Watched the whole series, and while I can appreciate the writing, the highs never touched the highs of The Shield and the lows never touched the lows of The Shield. The Shield made you feel like you were a family member. The thing I couldn't stand about The Wire was its inability to make me really like or root for its characters. I loved Vic; for his good and bad. I still feel like Lem and I would have been best friends. Never felt that way with anyone on The Wire.

    September 29, 2010 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Exactly

      Man I couldn't have said it better myself. Amen brother! Amen! I mourned for weeks after Lems death, seriously. That is what good writing and character development is about. Make me feel like they are family.

      September 29, 2010 at 1:30 am | Report abuse |
    • sonofsam

      The Shield was entertainment. It excelled at that, but it was still entertainment. The Wire was more than that, and was about communities more than individuals.

      September 29, 2010 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. jointedexter

    The Wire sad true drama but the dope game is a setup urban america lionize this image like a way of life they view it and implement it. DAM!

    September 29, 2010 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  6. Bill

    Great news. Well deserved.

    September 28, 2010 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dean G

    By a mile. It is beyond me how the show was ignored over and over again. And not just for writing, Look at how many shows use cast members from The Wire...

    It was quite simply a masterpiece – year after year after year

    September 28, 2010 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
  8. romperstomper


    September 28, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mills

    The Wire: The best television series ever? I think so.

    September 28, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |

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