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Treme is an American television series in development with the HBO network. It was created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer.[1] The project is about musicians in New Orleans and is set in (and named after) Treme, a New Orleans neighborhood that is home to many of the city's musicians.[1][2] The series is expected to begin airing in 2010.[3]

Shared cast membersEdit

Shared crew membersEdit



Simon and Overmyer first worked together as writers on the television series Homicide: Life on the Street when the two became friends.[4] They collaborated again on Simon's series The Wire when Overmyer joined the crew as a consulting producer and writer in 2006.[5] Treme was put into development by HBO in 2008 shortly after the conclusion of The Wire. The show was envisioned to focus on the working class Treme neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and will be smaller in scope than The Wire, which examined an entire city.[2][4]

Overmyer lives part-time in New Orleans and Simon believes his experience will be valuable in navigating the "ornate oral tradition" of the city's stories.[2] Simon has stated that the series will explore beyond the music scene to encompass political corruption, the public housing controversy, the criminal-justice system, clashes between police and Mardi Gras Indians, and the struggle to regain the tourism industry after the storm.[6] Simon also consulted with New Orleans musicians Donald Harrison Jr., Kermit Ruffins, and Davis Rogan while developing the series.[7] Simon also consulted local chef Susan Spicer.[3]


In 2008 HBO commissioned a pilot episode for the series but did not "green-light" a complete series.[4] The pilot was announced at the 2008 Television Critics Association summer press tour.[1] Simon initially hoped to film the pilot episode of the series in 2008 and to continue filming in 2009 if the series was comissioned.[6] The series was planned to film on location and was predicted to boost to the New Orleans economy.[6]

The pilot did not actually begin filming in New Orleans until March 9 2009.[8][9] Award-winning Polish director Agnieszka Holland was hired to direct the pilot.[8] Holland had worked with the creators previously on The Wire and directed three episodes of that series.


After the pilot was written HBO commissioned a further ten scripts in order to explore the direction the series would take if ordered. Simon is a veteran of HBO having developed The Corner, The Wire and Generation Kill with them and will be the show runner and an executive producer. Overmyer is an experienced playwrite and television writer/producer and will serve as a co-executive producer and writer. Simon and Overmyer began to assemble a writing staff for the larger task.[3]

They hired local writer Tom Piazza, author of the non-fiction book Why New Orleans Matters. Piazza and Overmyer had known one another for years and Simon had read and enjoyed Piazza's work. They also hired Times-Picayune reporter Lolis Eric Elie. Simon, himself a reporter before working in television, has been impressed with his expansive knowledge of local people and background. Elie was the writer of the documentary Faubourg Treme: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans.[3]

Simon also brought fellow reporter turned television collaborator David Mills in for the project. Mills is a music enthusiast and has worked with Overmyer and Simon on both Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire as well as co-writing The Corner miniseries with Simon. Novellist George Pelecanos is also on board as part of the writing staff. Pelecanos was a writer on all five seasons of The Wire.[3]


The Wire star Wendell Pierce was the first to be attached to star in the series. His involvement was announced shortly after the pilot in July 2008.[10] Pierce is a New Orleans resident and will play Antoine Batiste, an accomplished trombonist.[3][11] Fellow The Wire alumnus Clarke Peters was also attached to star in the project early in its development. Peters will play the leader of a Mardi Gras Indian tribe who is trying to bring his people home.[12] Khandi Alexander will also star in the project. She previously worked with Simon on the award-winning HBO miniseries The Corner. In August 2008 Alexander was cast as Ladonna Batiste, the estranged wife of Pierce's character and a bar owner.[11]

Film actor Steve Zahn joined the project in February 2009. Treme is his first series commitment in television. Zahn will play a dancer, DJ and band member with anger management issues. The role will showcase the actor's singing and guitar playing talents.[13][14] Zahn's character is based on series consultant Davis Rogan and will share his first name.[15] Kim Dickens from HBO's Deadwood was also cast in February 2009. She will play a chef with a tumultuous relationship with Zahn's character.[13][14] Academy Award nominee and Homicide star Melissa Leo was cast as a civil rights lawyer just before the pilot began filming in March 2009.[8][16]

The series casting mirrored that of The Wire in using local actors wherever possible.[7] Local casting took place in January and February 2009 via RPM casting.[9] New Orleans native Phyllis Montana LeBlanc was cast as the girlfriend of Pierce's character. LeBlanc was recommended for the project by director Spike Lee who had worked with her on the HBO Hurricane Katrina documentary When the Levees Broke.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Wire Creator Heads to New Orleans. Zap2It (2008). Retrieved on 2008-07-13.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Margaret Talbot (2007). Stealing Life. The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 Dave Walker (2009). HBO planning series set in post-Katrina New Orleans. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Exclusive David Simon Q&A. AOL (2007). Archived from the original on 2007-12-11. Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
  5. Season 4 crew. HBO (2007). Retrieved on 2007-10-14.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Dave Walker (2008). HBO sets drama series in Treme with focus on city's musicians. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved on 2008-07-13.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Dave Walker (2008). More on David Simon's 'Treme'. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved on 2008-07-13.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Cynthia Littleton (2009). Melissa Leo joins HBO pilot. Variety. Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Advocate Business Staff (2009). Business Briefs for Jan. 20, 2009. Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
  10. Dave Walker (2008). New Orleans native Wendell Pierce set to star in 'Treme'. The Times-Picayune. Retrieved on 2008-07-13.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Nellie Andreeva (2008). Familiar faces in David Simon pilot. The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
  12. 'Wire' Vets Join HBO's 'Treme'. Zap 2 it (2008). Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Nellie Andreeva (2009). Steve Zahn circles 'Treme'. The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Nellie Andreeva (2009). HBO's 'Treme,' 'Empire' Add to Casts. Zap 2 It. Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
  15. R. Reese Fuller (2009). Treme ready to roll. The Independent Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-03-12.
  16. Mandi Bierly (2009). Melissa Leo signs on to David Simon's HBO pilot, 'Treme'. Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved on 2009-03-12.

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