David Mills, who penned scripts for such hit shows as ER, NYPD Blue and The Wire, died yesterday of a brain aneurysm at age 48.
Tragically, he did not live to see the debut of his most recent effort, HBO’s Treme, which kicks off Sunday, April 11 and “explores the lives of several struggling musicians and other New Orleans locals in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.”
When David spoke to us in August 2009, he had just gotten word that Treme had been picked up by HBO.
“I will be one of the writers on that show. We’ll be back in New Orleans in November to continue filming. We filmed the pilot in March and April,” he told BlogTalkRadio host Kevin Ross during the 12-minute interview.
Ironically, when Kevin asked about David’s focus in the coming months, the Emmy-winning scribe, who formerly worked as a journalist for The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, replied:
“In the short term, I’ve gotta get myself healthy for [Treme], because TV is very demanding—that kind of writing.
“So it’s all about losing some weight, quittin’ smoking, gettin’ my head right.
“So by late summer, I’ll be ready to start writing on that show.”
David also opened up about being that rare commodity: a successful African American writer in Hollywood.
He told the story of how, upon reading that NYPD Blue co-creator David Milch had admitted to racism in hiring African American writers, he penned a letter that eventually wound up getting him hired on the producer’s show.
“I had been in LA just a couple of months. I was writing on staff at Picket Fences, so I wrote a letter to David Milch saying, ‘Why does nobody ever speak publicly about all these mediocre white writers?’
“It didn’t take me very long to get out here to realize that every white writer who has a job in television is not necessarily a good writer. I was coming to work alongside of them, and I knew they couldn’t write a lick.
“So I know it’s got to be about something more than competence or talent.”
To hear David’s full interview on The Kevin Ross Show, click here.
To read more about Treme, click here.
To read David’s blog, Undercover Black Man, click here.