William F. Zorzi

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William Zorzi
Born William F. Zorzi Jr.
1954 (age 61–62)
Nationality American
Occupation Political reporter
Television Writer
Notable work The Wire
Show Me a Hero

William "Bill" F. Zorzi Jr. (born 1954) is an American journalist and screenwriter. He worked at The Baltimore Sun for almost twenty years and covered politics for the majority of his career. He has also written for the HBO television series The Wire and is the co-writer of the HBO minisieres, Show Me a Hero.

Personal life[edit]

Zorzi is the son of financial manager Mary Zorzi (née Fannon) and reporter and public relations executive William F. Zorzi, Sr. He has three siblings, a brother and two sisters.[1]

Career[edit]

Journalism[edit]

He worked at The Baltimore Sun for almost twenty years and covered politics for the majority of his career.[2] He has also covered the courts and the crime beat.[2] As a reporter Zorzi has been described as tough and cranky and characteristically refused to accept free gifts (including food) from the politicians he was covering.[3] He wrote a weekly column called "The Political Game" for five years in the mid nineties.[2] He left reporting in 1998 and became The Sun's Weekend Metropolitan Editor.[2] He later became Assistant City Editor.[2]

Television[edit]

David Simon said that producer Gail Mutrux, a producer Simon knew from working with her on Homicide, had sent him a copy of Belkin's book.[4] In 2001, Simon sent Zorzi, who at that time was assistant city editor at The Baltimore Sun, a copy of the book, which he was taking to HBO as a potential project. In 2002, Zorzi quit his job at The Sun and began working on what became a long-term project.[5][6]

The story was in development for over a decade, with co-writer Zorzi working on the passion project during that time, even as he and Simon were working on The Wire..[7][8][9] HBO had an option on the book, but it spent years in script re-writes with Zorzi as Simon and Zorzi were both busy working on other projects.

Zorzi worked for 13 years on the passion project that eventually became the 2015 HBO miniseries, Show Me a Hero, which he created with David Simon.[7][8][9][2] The project was to be "about the volatile events surrounding a federal public housing desegregation case in Yonkers, NY."[2]

Zorzi had previously worked with television producer David Simon at The Sun.[3] Zorzi had a brief cameo appearance in the first season of Simon's HBO crime series The Wire. He appeared as a reporter in the 2002 episode "The Buys." Zorzi joined the crew of The Wire as a staff writer for the third season in 2004.[10] Zorzi was hired to add authenticity to a new political story line. Fellow writer George Pelecanos commented that he knew that anything he wrote for the political story line would be extensively re-written by Simon and Zorzi.[3] Zorzi was promoted to story editor for the fourth season in 2006 and made his television writing debut.[11] He wrote the teleplay for the episode "Unto Others" from a story he co-wrote with producer Ed Burns.[12][13] Zorzi and the writing staff won the Writers Guild of America (WGA) Award for Best Dramatic Series at the February 2008 ceremony and the 2007 Edgar Award for Best Television Feature/Mini-Series Teleplay for their work on the fourth season.[14][15]

Zorzi returned as an executive story editor and writer for the fifth season in 2008.[3] He also joined the cast as a fictionalized version of himself.[16] He wrote the teleplay for the episode "Unconfirmed Reports" from a story he co-wrote with Simon.[17][18] Zorzi and the writing staff were nominated for the WGA award for Best Dramatic Series a second time at the February 2009 ceremony for their work on the fifth season but Mad Men won the award.[19]

Teaching[edit]

Following production of the fourth season Zorzi spent a year teaching Journalism at the Baltimore Freedom Academy, a public high school in the city.[2] He also helped the school to launch a newspaper.[2]

Filmography[edit]

Production staff

Year Show Role Notes
2008 The Wire Executive story editor Season 5
2006 Story editor Season 4
2004 Staff writer Season 3

Writer

Year Show Season Episode title Episode Notes
2008 The Wire 5 "Unconfirmed Reports" 2 Teleplay by Zorzi, story by Zorzi and David Simon
2006 4 "Unto Others" 7 Teleplay by Zorzi, story by Zorzi and Ed Burns

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Result Work Notes
2009 Writers Guild of America Award Outstanding Dramatic Series Nominated[19] The Wire season 5 Shared with Ed Burns, Chris Collins, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, George Pelecanos, Richard Price and David Simon
2008 Won[15] The Wire season 4 Shared with Ed Burns, Chris Collins, Kia Corthron, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, George Pelecanos, Richard Price and David Simon
2007 Edgar Award Best Television Feature/Mini-Series Teleplay Won[14] Shared with Ed Burns, Kia Corthron, Dennis Lehane, David Mills, Eric Overmyer, George Pelecanos, Richard Price and David Simon

References[edit]

  1. ^ Rasmussen, Frederick N. (20 May 2009). "Mary F. Zorzi - Longtime Cedarcroft Resident Was Co-founder Of A Financial Management Services Firm". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i "William F. Zorzi biography". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d Margaret Talbot (2007). "Stealing life". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2007-10-17. 
  4. ^ Kimmelman, Michael (August 12, 2015). "David Simon and Cory Booker on 'Show Me a Hero' and the Future of Cities". The New York Times. Retrieved August 14, 2015. 
  5. ^ Zurawik, David (14 August 2015). "'Show Me a Hero' shows how to make compelling, socially relevant, great TV". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  6. ^ Radish, Christina (15 August 2015). "'Show Me a Hero' Writers David Simon and William F. Zorzi on Lengthy Development, HBO, and More". Collider.com. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Mulholland, John (September 28, 2014). "The Wire creator David Simon: why American politics no longer works". The Guardian. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ a b Friedlander, Whitney (July 30, 2014). "Oscar Isaac, Catherine Keener to Star in David Simon's Civil Rights Miniseries for HBO". Variety. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  9. ^ a b Doyle, Rachel B. (January 28, 2015). "'Wire' Creator Takes on Yonkers' Biggest Desegregation Battle". Curbed. Retrieved July 15, 2015. 
  10. ^ "The Wire season 3 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  11. ^ "The Wire season 4 crew". HBO. 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-14. 
  12. ^ Anthony Hemingway (director), Ed Burns & William F. Zorzi (story), William F. Zorzi (teleplay) (2004-10-29). "Unto Others". The Wire. Season 4. Episode 7. HBO. 
  13. ^ "Episode guide - episode 44 Unto Others". HBO. 2006. Retrieved 2006-11-01. 
  14. ^ a b "Curtains Receives Edgar Award Nomination". Theatre Mania. 
  15. ^ a b "2008 Writers Guild Awards Television & Radio Nominees Announced". WGA. 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  16. ^ "Character profile - Bill Zorzi". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-07. 
  17. ^ Ernest Dickerson (director), William F. Zorzi (story and teleplay), David Simon (story) (2008-01-13). "Unconfirmed Reports". The Wire. Season 5. Episode 2. HBO. 
  18. ^ "The Wire episode guide - episode 52 Uncomfirmed Reports". HBO. 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-22. 
  19. ^ a b "2009 Writers Guild Awards Television, Radio, News, Promotional Writing, and Graphic Animation Nominees Announced". WGA. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-12. 

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