Top 50 Power Showrunners 2011
"I don't think of myself as an entertainer," says Simon, "which of course is a very dangerous thing in this industry." Simon, 51, is television's avant-garde master. With Simon's post-Katrina diary Treme, his impressive HBO resume also boasts The Corner, Generation Kill and The Wire, which is still finding new audiences via DVD sales and digital platforms more than three years after it wrapped. His work has earned critical raves and small, if devoted, audiences. But the freedom he's afforded at HBO has probably engendered a little jealousy from his colleagues in broadcast television. "At any moment, I expect the window to slam shut on my fingers and I'll have to go back to journalism," says Simon, who was a crime reporter at the Baltimore Sun when his non-fiction book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, about life in inner city Baltimore, became the inspiration for Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson's NBC series Homicide. Simon and Eric Overmyer are at work on the third season of Treme, set to bow this spring, and Simon is developing a miniseries for HBO about the Lincoln assassination with Fontana. "Working in cable changed things for me; it was the window I crawled through," he says. "Until they tell me to crawl back through it, it's good."