Thursday, January 27, 2005

Getting The Wire!

Chris Albrecht, Chairman, HBO, Inc.
1100 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036

Re: The Wire

Mr. Albrecht:

After reading the January 14, 2005 Variety article by Denise Martin, in reference to HBO’s phenomenal drama series, The Wire, I was compelled to script this correspondence. In the article, it was stated that you made the following comment at the TCA session:

“I have received a telegram from every viewer of ‘The Wire’ – all 250 of them.”

As I type this letter, I’m wondering if you meant for your comment to be taken as a joke, because for the life of me I didn’t find it funny – especially considering you can go to your own website and find that almost 9000 individual memberships have been created or utilized in order to play The Wire trivia game. Now, even if you took into consideration that anyone can create multiple screen names to access the special features on the HBO website, it is highly unlikely each of the 250 people that you indicated were The Wire’s only viewers, took the time to create 36 screen names apiece just to push the numbers up. (Source:

I am troubled to see that the Chairman of a network would make jokes about a show that was not only hailed as “program of the year” by Entertainment Weekly, but has received more critical acclaim than most of the other shows in its continuum combined. Every individual person that I have turned on to The Wire has loved it and has joined the laundry list of loyal viewers. Yet, as I conveyed to one of the Vice Presidents of the film studio where I work, there are too many black people featured on The Wire for it to be nominated for a non-black achievement award, or to even be defended by anyone who counts as far as decisions about the show go. I know, I know…that isn’t your fault, it’s just the way it goes in the industry. Who cares if the show is good or not, just as long as the white folks with the Nielsen boxes are watching - right? For the record, I have never met anybody with a Nielsen box in their home. So, who speaks for me? No one, that’s why I’m speaking up for myself in this letter. Since it has been publicized that HBO’s 2004 profits surpassed one billion dollars, it seems to me that you have enough financial strength to put your money where your good shows are – instead of bringing back debris like Carnivale. Oh, I’m sorry, was that harsh of me to say? Well, for you to say that only 250 people watch The Wire is pretty doggone harsh too.

Of course I like to watch The Sopranos, America Undercover, HBO Championship Boxing, Inside the NFL, Six Feet Under, reruns of Sex In The City and even Deadwood, but I can’t see paying money to a network that makes jokes and considers canceling a show that has received as many accolades and sincere viewers as The Wire; all because the real viewers of the show, the ones that can answer every trivia question on your website, are probably way too dark-skinned to be offered a Nielsen box.

Yes, without The Wire, I don’t believe I will have further need to spend the extra ten dollars a month on HBO. I will spend the time that I use to spend watching your network on creating my own scripts and my own network - because from the looks of things, I know where I can find a stellar cast of potentially unemployed thespians who deserve their just due.


Waset Regir
author.writer.truth defender.


T-MAC said...

Put this on the list of other good shows cancelled in their prime where the majority of the cast is black.

I'm guessing they thought by killing Stringer that the popularity would fizzle. That just got people more hyped to see what would happen with Marlo, Prop Joe and Omar.

Nevertheless, the buzz the wire got probably left the HBO execs with two choices... pay the ensemble more cash or cancel the show and (by limiting selection) increase the viewership of the less minority-heavy shows similar to In Living Color and Married With Children.

I will probably now handle my HBO subscription like I used to and cancel HBO when the Soprano's season is over and pick it back up with the next season.

klaz said...

As always, the truth is spoken. I was looking forward to see how the plot developed and now I see that it is about stupidness. Everybody I know was waiting for this past season to start and the folks who just got into it this season were buying it. As usual, the world that shows people of color can not compete with the fake drama in the blonde blue eyed world of broken shoes and brazilian waxes.

Queenb said...

Honestly I have never watched THE WIRE but it is funny how HBO no longer has any black shows running! I cancelled my subscription way back because the only thing worth watching was Sex in the City, and now that thats done with...I cant justify spending the extra $10. I doubt you will be getting a response but I am proud of you for speaking up...we are one voice louder!

Anonymous said...

Saw you letter to Chris Albrecht on the HBO Wire Community Board, I totally
agree with your letter about the tv show "The Wire". You also should said
about the lack for the promotion for the show as well and even the numbers
on the wire petition (
is at 5533 and goes up every day

I really really like the wire, but I feel signing the petition, makes me
feel that HBO have no faith in the show success.

Yours sincerely,

L. Mitchell