Hollywood Flashback: David Simon's 'Corner' Won 3 Emmys in 2000

The Corner (HBO) Mini-series - Sean Nelson, Khandi Alexander, T.K. Carter - Photofest-H 2020
HBO/Photofest

While his latest limited series, HBO's 'The Plot Against America,' earned a single Emmy nomination for cinematography on July 28, two decades ago, Simon's first HBO project earned four noms and won three Emmys.

While his latest limited series, HBO's The Plot Against America, earned a single Emmy nomination for cinematography on July 28, two decades ago, David Simon's first HBO project, 2000's The Corner, earned four noms and won three Emmys — for outstanding miniseries; outstanding directing for a miniseries, movie or a special (for Charles S. Dutton); and outstanding writing for a miniseries or a movie (for Simon and David Mills).

The corner in question refers to the junction of Fayette and Monroe streets in Baltimore, where Simon, a former Baltimore Sun reporter, and his co-writer, former Baltimore police detective Ed Burns, spent a year hanging around and chronicling what they observed — including rampant drug selling and use and racist police brutality — for 1997's The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner City Neighborhood.

Simon and Burns' nonfiction book follows Gary McCullough and his ex-wife Fran Boyd, both of whom are addicted to drugs, as their 15-year-old son, DeAndre, begins taking to the streets to deal them. The HBO adaptation came on the heels of Homicide: Life on the Street, which also was based on a Simon book and collected four Emmys during its 1993-99 run on NBC.

The six-episode Corner served as inspiration for The Wire, widely considered Simon's masterpiece, which premiered on HBO three years later. Over five seasons, that drama was nominated for just two Emmys and won zero.  

This story first appeared in an August stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.