John Wells is one of the most prolific writers, directors and producers for television, film and the stage. Over the past two decades, Wells has been a creative force behind some of primetime’s biggest hit series, including ER, The West Wing, Third Watch and China Beach. He is currently Executive Producer of the hit NBC crime drama Southland.
Shows produced by John Wells have received an astounding 267 Emmy nominations with 55 Emmy wins, not to mention 5 Peabody Awards, and numerous People’s Choice Awards, Producers Guild Awards, a HUMANITAS Prize (nominated 7 times), as well as numerous distinctions from health care organizations across the country for ER. During its fifteen year run, ER earned 122 Emmy nominations, the most in television history.
A seven-time Writers Guild Award nominee, in 2007, Wells received the WGA’s prestigious Paddy Chayefsky Television Laurel Award, given to writers who have advanced the literature of television and made outstanding contributions to the profession of television writers. In 2005, Wells was awarded the David Susskind Achievement Award in Television from the Producers Guild of America.
Wells and his team at John Wells Productions have a number of high-profile films in various stages of production and development.
Wells recently wrote and directed The Company Men, a drama set against the backdrop of affluent Boston suburbs that vividly portrays the struggles of families coping with the current ongoing economic meltdown. The film marks Wells’ feature film directorial debut with an extraordinary ensemble cast including Academy Award® winners Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper, as well as Emmy® winner Craig T. Nelson and Golden Globe nominee Maria Bello.
As a producer, Wells’ most recent motion-picture credits include: Carroll Ballard’s critically-acclaimed drama Duma, a children’s film starring Hope Davis and Campbell Scott; Peter Kosminsky’s adaptation of Janet Fitch’s critically acclaimed novel White Oleander, starring Alison Lohman, Robin Wright Penn, Michelle Pfeiffer and Renée Zellweger; and Neil Jordan’s The Good Thief, starring Nick Nolte. Wells also served as a producer on Andrzej Bartkowiak’s Doom, based upon the popular video game and starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
In an arrangement unique to the business, John Wells Productions also funds Killer Films, the independent operation of Christine Vachon, Pam Koffler and Katie Roumel. For Killer Films, Wells executive produced Todd Haynes’ innovative Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There, Tom Kalin’s Savage Grace, Douglas McGrath’s Infamous, Mary Harron’s The Notorious Bettie Page and Phyllis Nagy’s Mrs. Harris for HBO, which garnered several Emmy nominations. Also in collaboration with Killer Films was Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven, Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo, Todd Graff’s Camp, Fenton Bailey’s Party Monster, Robert Altman’s The Company, Michael Mayer’s A Home at the End of the World and John Waters’ A Dirty Shame.
As a TV producer, Wells’ diverse projects include series Smith, The Evidence and Jonny Zero, as well as telemovies Dark Shadows (2004) and The Big Time (2002). Wells’ award-winning stage productions include Judgement, Balm in Gilead, Battery and She Also Dances.
Wells served as President of the Writers Guild of America, West (1999-2001) and was vital to the success of the 2001 MBA contract negotiations.
Born in Alexandria, Virginia, and raised in Denver, Colorado, Wells graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with a bachelor of fine arts and later earned a Masters degree in film and television at the University of Southern California, where he also serves on the school’s Television Executive Advisory Council.