On the eve of the third season premiere of “Treme,” David Simon announced that the New Orleans drama will be back for a truncated fourth season.
“We are going to be back for a season 3.5,” Simon said during a screening of the third season premiere on Saturday night. He went on to add that HBO gave him “half a loaf,” but that wasn’t going to stop him from completing the story.
Not that this news is all too surprising. As “The Hollywood Reporter” writes, Simon had previously stated that “Treme” will wrap up after four seasons, something cast member Khadi Alexander echoed last week.
“HBO, upon viewing the 10 (episodes from Season 3) that we gave them and what we’ve done, they want to see the end of the story. They fought very hard to give us half a loaf. We’re going to take it and run.” Reps for HBO confirmed that Simon made the statements, declining further comment.
Simon’s announcement comes amidst speculation that HBO brass had been mulling an end for “Treme,” which has never been a commercial success. The series created by Simon and Eric Overmyer premiered to 1.1 million viewers, dropping to 605,000 viewers in its second season opener. Despite the low ratings, the series that chronicles the life of New Orleans residents in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been a matter of pride for HBO leadership.
“David [Simon] has made it clear that he wants a conclusion, and it is my understanding that, as of today, we’re very close to being able to have a conclusion — and I’m looking forward to that,” she told “The Hollywood Reporter.”
Much like Simon’s last HBO series, “The Wire,” “Treme” was critically acclaimed but had trouble finding an audience. The second season averaged around 500,000 viewers per original episode.
The second season of “Treme” wrapped up last summer. As previously reported, Season 3 picks up with “Toni (Melissa Leo) continuing to fight against a corrupt police department, sexual assault victim LaDonna (Alexander) working to reclaim her dignity, and trombonist Antoine (Wendell Pierce) taking a good look at the meaning of life.”
Carpetbagging developer Nelson Hidalgo is looking for ways to get paid off the city’s musical culture, as is deejay Davis McAlary, who’s leading cockeyed music tours and writing a post-Katrina opera “that will make Puccini my bitch.” Chef Janette DeSautel, in the season opening episode co-written by creator David Simon and TV cook Anthony Bourdain, is still in New York but about to me tempted by an off to open her own place in the City That Care Forgot.
Story oozes on Treme, and events take their time in unfolding, from LaDonna Batiste-Williams irritation with the uppity in-laws she’s living with, to Dutch keyboard player Sonny’s efforts to romance his Vietnamese girlfirend Linh, always under the watchful eye of her fisherman father. Meantime, trombinist Antoine Batiste (the lovable and laudable Wendell Pierce, pictured) is at least half earning a living with an actual job – teaching marching band class at a local school.
There are signs in the first couple of episodes that the action is about to heat up, however. An arson-fired murder mystery is likely to pull David Morse’s honest cop and Melissa Leo’s crusading lawyer, and an out of town journalist without a paying gig (played by True Blood’s Chris Coy) is doing some digging into the city government malfeasance, working towards unearthing a bombshell of a story.
Judging from the first couple of episodes of this season, Treme will be as packed with great music as ever. Look for a cameo by Clarence “Frogman” Henry in tonight’s ‘Knock With Me – Rock With Me’ premier. Check out the trailer below, and watch this space for music updates from Treme throughout the season.