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Treme (TV Series)

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Treme (TV series)

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Treme intertitle
Format Drama
Created by David Simon
Eric Overmyer
Starring Khandi Alexander
Rob Brown
Kim Dickens
Michiel Huisman
Melissa Leo
Lucia Micarelli
Clarke Peters
Wendell Pierce
Steve Zahn
John Goodman
Opening theme "The Treme Song" by John Boutté
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 10 (List of episodes)
Executive producer(s) David Simon
Nina Kostroff Noble
Eric Overmyer
Carolyn Strauss
Location(s) New Orleans, Louisiana
Camera setup Single-camera
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel HBO
Picture format 1080i HDTV
Audio format Dolby Digital 5.1
Original run April 11, 2010 (2010-04-11) – present
External links
Official website
Treme (IPA: [tɹəˈmeɪ], trə-MAY) is an American television drama series created by David Simon and Eric Overmyer. Tremé is a neighborhood in the city of New Orleans.[1] The series begins three months after Hurricane Katrina where the residents of New Orleans, including musicians, chefs, Mardi Gras Indians, and ordinary New Orleanians try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane.[1][2][3]
The series premiered on HBO April 11, 2010,[4][5] with an 80-minute pilot episode, the first of a 10 episode season.[2] On April 13, 2010, it was announced that HBO had renewed the show for a second season.[6]



[edit] Production

[edit] Conception

Simon and Overmyer first worked together as writers on the television series Homicide: Life on the Street and became friends.[7] They collaborated again on Simon's series The Wire when Overmyer joined the crew as a consulting producer and writer in 2006.[8] 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 Tremé neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and will be smaller in scope than The Wire, which examined an entire city.[3][7]
Overmyer lived part-time in New Orleans and Simon believed his experience would be valuable in navigating the "ornate oral tradition" of the city's stories.[3] Simon has stated that the series would explore New Orleans culture including and 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.[9] Simon also consulted with New Orleans musicians Donald Harrison Jr., Kermit Ruffins, and Davis Rogan, and local chef Susan Spicer while developing the series.[10][4]

[edit] Development

In 2008 HBO commissioned a pilot episode for the series but did not "green-light" a complete series at that time.[7] 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 commissioned.[9] The series was planned to film on location and was predicted to be a boost to the New Orleans economy.[9]
The pilot did not actually begin filming in New Orleans until March 9, 2009.[11][12] Award-winning Polish director Agnieszka Holland was hired to direct the pilot.[11] Holland had worked with the creators previously on The Wire, directing three episodes of that series. After the pilot was written HBO commissioned another ten scripts.

[edit] Crew

A scene from the actual Tremé part of New Orleans
Simon is a veteran of HBO having developed The Corner, The Wire and Generation Kill with them and is the show runner and an executive producer. Overmyer is an experienced playwright and television writer/producer and is an executive producer and writer. Simon and Overmyer previously collaborated on Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire.
Simon and Overmyer began to assemble a writing staff for the full series,[4] first hiring 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 Tremé: The Untold Story of Black New Orleans.[4] Novelist George Pelecanos is also on board as part of the writing staff. Pelecanos was a writer on all five seasons of The Wire.[4]
Simon also brought fellow reporter turned television collaborator David Mills in for the project as co-executive producer and writer. Mills was a music enthusiast who had worked with Overmyer and Simon on both Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire as well as co-writing The Corner, the award-winning HBO miniseries, with Simon. On March 30, 2010, David Mills died suddenly in New Orleans, twelve days before the show's premiere.[13]
Blake Leyh is the music supervisor for the show. He has worked on numerous other projects including HBO's The Wire. Skip Bolen is the unit stills photographer for the pilot episode. He has worked on projects including HBO's season finale of True Blood.

[edit] Casting

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.[14] Pierce is a New Orleans native and plays Antoine Batiste, an accomplished trombonist.[4][15] Fellow The Wire alumnus Clarke Peters was also attached to star in the project early in its development. Peters plays the leader of a Mardi Gras Indian tribe who is trying to bring his scattered people home and revitalize the neighborhood.[16] Khandi Alexander, who previously worked with Simon on The Corner, joined the project in August 2008 and was cast as Ladonna Batiste-Williams, the ex-wife of Pierce's character and a bar owner.[15]
Film actor Steve Zahn joined the project in February 2009. Treme is his first series commitment in television. Zahn plays Davis, a DJ and band member/leader with anger management issues in a role that showcases his singing and guitar playing talents.[17][18] Zahn's character is based on series consultant Davis Rogan and shares his first name.[19] Kim Dickens previously of Deadwood and Friday Night Lights was also cast in February 2009 as a chef with a tumultuous relationship with Zahn's character.[17][18] Rob Brown was cast as Delmond Lambreaux, a New York jazz musician and son of Peters' character who reluctantly returns home, in February 2009.[20] Academy Award nominee and Homicide star Melissa Leo was cast as a civil rights lawyer just before the pilot began filming in March 2009.[11][21] John Goodman was cast as her character's college professor husband when the show started filming its season order, and scenes featuring him were added to the pilot.[22]
The series casting mirrors that of The Wire in using local actors wherever possible.[10] Local casting took place in January and February 2009 via RPM casting.[12] 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.[4] Additionally, well-known New Orleans musician Kermit Ruffins appears as himself in the pilot and guests throughout the first season.[23] Other musical guests include Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Elvis Costello, Steve Earle, Sammie "Big Sam" Williams, Donald Harrison, Jr., Galactic, Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews, Deacon John Moore, The Pine Leaf Boys, Rebirth Brass Band, Treme Brass Band,[24] saxophonist Joe Braun, bassist Matt Perrine, The Pfister Sisters (Holley Bendtsen, Debbie Davis and Yvette Voelker), clarinetist Bruce Brachman, bass drummer "Uncle" Lionel Batiste, vocalist John Boutté, singer/guitarist Coco Robicheaux, pianist Tom McDermott, and vocalist Lloyd Price.

[edit] Cast and characters

  • Antoine Batiste (Wendell Pierce): A trombonist constantly hunting for his next gig, Antoine lives with the mother of his infant daughter. He rarely sees his two sons with his ex-wife LaDonna, in part because he has no car since the storm and must rely on cabs and public transportation.
  • LaDonna Batiste-Williams (Khandi Alexander): LaDonna owns and runs a tavern in New Orleans. She also takes care of her elderly mother, who refuses to leave the city for fear that LaDonna's younger brother Daymo, who has been missing since the storm, will return and be unable to find his family. She commutes between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, where her sons are living with her husband, a dentist.
  • Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens): Janette is a chef, struggling to keep her restaurant open while waiting for insurance to pay for her losses in the storm. She and Davis maintain a casual but tumultuous relationship.
  • Albert "Big Chief" Lambreaux (Clarke Peters): Albert is a Mardi Gras Indian chief, well-respected in his community. Having returned to his home to find it severely damaged, he moves into the neighborhood bar where his tribe practices. He is repairing it while working to bring the other members of his tribe, as well as his son Delmond, back to the city.
  • Delmond Lambreaux (Rob Brown): Delmond is an accomplished trumpet player. The son of Albert, he finds himself drawn more to the music and atmosphere of New York than New Orleans.
  • Davis McAlary (Steve Zahn): A part-time DJ and musician, Davis is a passionate admirer of New Orleans and its culture. He is constantly seeking to incite social outrage against the injustices inflicted by "the Man".

[edit] US Nielsen ratings

[edit] Weekly ratings

Also see the list of Treme episodes
Order↓ Episode↓ Viewers
1 "Do You Know What It Means" 1.13
2 "Meet De Boys On the Battlefront" 0.78
3 "Right Place, Wrong Time" 0.81
4 "At the Foot of Canal Street" 0.67
5 "Shame, Shame, Shame" 0.57
6 "Shallow Water, Oh Mama" TBA
7 "Smoke My Peace Pipe" 0.56
8 "All On a Mardi Gras Day" 0.54
9 "Wish Someone Would Care" 1.16
10 "I'll Fly Away" 0.93

[edit] Episodes

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c "Wire Creator Heads to New Orleans". Zap2It. 2008.,0,3595323.story#TheWireHBO. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  2. ^ a b "New HBO Drama Series Treme, Created and Executive Produced by David Simon and Eric Overmyer, to Debut in April". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  3. ^ a b c Margaret Talbot (2007). "Stealing Life". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Dave Walker (2009). "HBO planning series set in post-Katrina New Orleans". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  5. ^ "Shows A-Z Treme on HBO". The Futon Critic. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 
  6. ^ Ken Tucker (2010). "Treme renewed by HBO for a second season: Start a parade!". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2010-04-13. 
  7. ^ a b c "Exclusive David Simon Q&A". AOL. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  8. ^ "Season 4 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  9. ^ a b c Dave Walker (2008). "HBO sets drama series in Treme with focus on city's musicians". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  10. ^ a b Dave Walker (2008). "More on David Simon's 'Treme'". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  11. ^ a b c Cynthia Littleton (2009). "Melissa Leo joins HBO pilot". Variety. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  12. ^ a b Advocate Business Staff (2009). "Business Briefs for Jan. 20, 2009". Baton Rouge Advocate. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  13. ^ "Obituary: David Mills, 48, journalist, Emmy-winning TV writer". Washington Post. 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2010-04-04. 
  14. ^ Dave Walker (2008). "New Orleans native Wendell Pierce set to star in 'Treme'". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2008-07-13. 
  15. ^ a b Nellie Andreeva (2008). "Familiar faces in David Simon pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  16. ^ "'Wire' Vets Join HBO's 'Treme'". Zap 2 it. 2008.,0,4897307.story#TheWireHBO. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  17. ^ a b Nellie Andreeva (2009). "Steve Zahn circles 'Treme'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  18. ^ a b Nellie Andreeva (2009). "HBO's 'Treme,' 'Empire' Add to Casts". Zap 2 It.,0,2802441.story#TheWireHBO. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  19. ^ R. Reese Fuller (2009). "Treme ready to roll". The Independent Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  20. ^ Nellie Andreeva (2009). "Slew of castings for HBO drama pilots". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2009-03-24. 
  21. ^ Mandi Bierly (2009). "Melissa Leo signs on to David Simon's HBO pilot, 'Treme'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2009-03-12. 
  22. ^ Dave Walker (2010). "HBO's Treme adds John Goodman to cast". The Times-Picayune. Retrieved 2010-01-11. 
  23. ^ Dave Walker (2009). "HBO's 'Treme' christened with an impromptu barbecue by Basin Street Records' own Kermit Ruffins". New Orleans Times Picayune. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  24. ^ Wyatt Williams (2010). "HBO releases Treme details". Creative Loafing Atlanta. Retrieved 2010-01-14. 

[edit] External links

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