The Wire once again appears to be all the rage amid the pandemic. Last month, HBO reported a surge in viewership for The Wire and other shows during the coronavirus quarantine. Earlier this month, HBO made The Wire and many of its other iconic shows free for everybody to stream. And earlier this week, The Ringer launched a The Wire podcast hosted by Jemele Hill and Van Lathan. "I’m happy it’s had the shelf life it’s had," Simon tells Vanity Fair. "I’m a little bit amused at the contrariness of the fact that I have a miniseries running now (The Plot Against America) that I spent the last three years working on. So the idea that that thing’s in its first run—and people are watching The Wire now, or talking about watching The Wire now—is a little bit contrary. I have to laugh at that. I mean, five years from now or 10 years from now, they’ll be looking at The Plot Against America. If I’m still making TV then, they won’t be watching what I’m putting on the air then. That’s the standard vibe I have, which is, nobody watches the stuff when it’s actually broadcast." Simon notes that binge-watchers are able to watch the entire book-like series in a different way from when The Wire originally aired from 2002 to 2008. When the show was on, he says, "these things were debated on a weekly basis without anybody being able to stand back and look at the whole. To us, it was always a whole. Yeah, there were separate seasons and they each had a theme, but it was structured as a whole, as 60 hours. Now it’s being experienced as that…. They may like it, they may not like it, but at least they’re taking it as the whole meal. That’s probably a little bit better." As for The Plot Against America, Simon notes that viewers are consuming TV in a different way in 2020. "Our numbers for broadcast night on The Plot Against America are about half a million," he says." Not notable in any way, but weeks later, the first episode has now been seen by 3.5 million people. That number will continue to grow. There are people who are waiting for all six to be out, so they can binge it in one night. It’s not about the Nielsen ratings anymore. There’s some other measure by which we survive."
TOPICS: The Wire, HBO, The Plot Against America, David Simon, Coronavirus