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October 13, 2015

'The Wire' and 'Treme' Creator, David Simon, Awarded "Genius" Grant

by Catherine Lawson, posted Sep 28th 2010 9:15AM
David SimonFans of 'The Wire' have hailed him as a genius for years, but now it's official. It was announced Tuesday that David Simon is among 23 recipients of this year's MacArthur Foundation $500,000 "Genius" Grants.

As reported by Reuters, Chicago's John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation unveiled its annual list of scientists, scholars, artists and musicians surprised with the no-strings-attached stipends to be paid over five years. Simon's fellow recipients this year include a high school science teacher, a marble sculptor, a marine biologist and a calligrapher.

In a statement, Daniel Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program, said that, "These are women and men improving, protecting, and making our world a better place for us all. This program was designed for such people -- designed to provide an extra measure of freedom, visibility, and opportunity,"

David Simon is a former police reporter for 'The Baltimore Sun,' and he used his experience to write books that became the basis of TV dramas 'Homicide: Life on the Streets' and 'The Corner.' Later on, he created and executive produced 'The Wire,' which ran for five critically acclaimed seasons on HBO. His current series, 'Treme,' is a drama about musicians in post-Katrina New Orleans.

The MacArthur grants were established in 1981 and over 800 people have already received the cash awards. Nominations for the grants are submitted anonymously and recipients are not told they are being considered for them. The foundation lauded Simon's achievements: "With the nuance and scope of novels, Simon's recent series have explored the constraints that poverty, corruption and broken social systems place on the lives of a compelling cast of characters, each vividly realized with complicated motives, frailties, and strengths."

Speaking to 'The Washington Post' about the grant, Simon said "I confess to a feeling that I can only describe as a vague sense of shame. ... it was exacerbated when I went online and looked at the people who'd gotten fellowships in the past. ... While I think storytelling is a meaningful way to spend your life ... it does feel a little bit secondary or off-point. I definitely felt a little sheepish after looking at the list."

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The Wire was absolutely the best drama I have ever seen on TV; free or pay, how that show didn't win every award it was nominated for is beyond me. Kudos Simon, you've earned it.

September 28 2010 at 10:37 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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