David Zurawik

HBO picks up six-hour miniseries on race from David Simon

The long relationship between HBO and David Simon will continue with the Baltimore filmmaker co-writing and producing "Show Me a Hero," a six-hour miniseries, for the premium cable channel.

Based on the non-fiction book of the same title by Lisa Belkin, the series that explores race relations in the 1980s and '90s in Yonkers, N.Y.,  will star Oscar Isaac and Catherine Keener.


Simon said in an email to The Sun that the miniseries will be filmed in Yonkers, because that's where the real-life events it covers took place. He said filming will start there Oct. 1.

"In an America generations removed from the greatest civil rights struggle of the 1960s, the young mayor of a mid-sized American city is faced with a federal court order that says he must build a small number of low-income housing units in the white neighborhoods of the town," HBO's description of the miniseries said.


"His attempt to do so tears the entire city apart, paralyzes the entire municipal government and, ultimately, destroys the mayor and his political future." ... 'Show me a Hero' explores notions of home, race and community through the lives of elected officials, bureaucrats, activists and ordinary citizens of Yonkers, N.Y."

Serving alongside Simon as executive producer and writer on the series will be Bill Zorzi, who, like Simon, was a reporter at the Baltimore Sun. Zorzi also worked on "The Wire" with Simon as a writer and producer.

Gail Mutrux and Nina Noble will also be executive producers, along with Paul Haggis, who will also direct.

Isaac will play Mayor Nick Wasicsko, while Keener will portray Mary Dorman, an East Yonkers home owner.

The series will be produced under the banner of Simon's production company, "A Blown Deadline Production."

In a November interview with The Sun as his series "Treme" finished production, Simon said he might be leaving HBO -- and possibly TV production altogether.

"I don't know," Simon said in that interview. "I turned in work on a couple of series and a miniseries to HBO to finish out my development deal, and they'll either want to make some of it or they won't. It's kind of up to them.

"I have to say," he continued, "I'm sort of at this point wondering if I'm not a strange fit for television. And 'The Wire' was sort of fire in the bottle, because nobody watched 'The Wire' when it was on the air. And nobody watched 'Generation Kill.' And nobody watched 'Treme.'"

It's good to see David Simon and HBO are still in business together.