Wells new WGAW prez

Petrie wins veepee vote

John Wells, creator and exec producer of “ER,” has been elected president of the Writers Guild of America West.

He beat Beth Sullivan, creator of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” by a 854 votes to 614. The union released the tally Friday.

Outgoing prexy Daniel Petrie Jr. became the guild’s VP. He received 771 votes to Carl Gottlieb’s 618.

Michael Mahern won re-election as secretary-treasurer with 896 votes, the most of any candidate.

All officers and board members serve two year terms.

Turnout was unusually low. Of the 8,208 eligible members, only 1,595 voted.

One guild official noted the 19% turnout may be due to minimal controversy. Candidates slung little mud in contrast to heated contests in years past.

Wells, a WGAW officer and board member since 1991, did raise some eyebrows with his aggressive campaign stance. With the guild contract set to expire in May 2001, Wells has said a strike is a very real possibility.

If the guild’s needs are met “in an atmosphere of respect for the writer as author and as the central creative force … so much the better,” Wells wrote in his campaign statement. If not, “we will be on strike.”

Wells made that point again after his victory. “We’re entering a contentious period,” he said. “We’re going to have some very difficult negotiations.”

Specifically, Wells wants to end vanity credits that tout “a film by” a certain director. He also wants to boost copyright protection and cable TV residuals.

“Everyone is aware of the areas that need to be addressed,” he said.

Wells is in Gotham working on his new drama “Third Watch.” He’s also running “The West Wing,” another hourlong skein bowing this fall on NBC.

“He’s going to have a lot on his plate, but John is extremely organized,” Petrie said.

Eight of the 16 guild board slots were contested.

Re-elected were Victoria Riskin, Irma Kalish, Ann Marcus, Terry Curtis Fox, Don M. Mankiewicz and Charles Edward Pogue.

Jonathan Estrin, a board member from 1994 to ’96, also won a seat. Patric M. Verrone joins the board for his first term.

Board member Scott Alexander opted not to run again, and term limits squeezed out Greg Strangis.

More Biz

  • Photo taken July 18, 2019, from

    More Than 20 Feared Dead in Arson Attack on Japan's Kyoto Animation

    UPDATED: More than 20 people are feared to have died Thursday morning in an arson attack on the Kyoto Animation company in Japan, shocking a nation in which extreme violence is very rare. Emergency services in Kyoto City received a call about 10:35 a.m. local time reporting an explosion on the first floor of the [...]

  • Haim Saban

    Haim Saban Pledges to Invest $500 Million to Launch Music Label

    Businessman, investor and philanthropist Haim Saban, who heads the Saban Capital Group, has pledged to invest $500 million to launch a record label. Saban Music Group (SMG) will be led by music executive Gustavo Lopez and focus on “international A&R, artist development and strategically supporting a 360 model for artists,” reads a release announcing SMG, [...]

  • Street scene Sunset Boulevard at night

    In Los Angeles, Rock and Roll Fights to Save the Sunset Strip

    On a recent Saturday evening on Sunset Boulevard, just beyond the nightly caravan of European sports cars and open-air tour buses that have seen better days, the famous Tower Records building was once again bathed in the familiar red and yellow paint job of the iconic music store that once occupied its stone-brick walls. Though [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Files Motion to Dismiss Lawsuit From Artists Claiming Fire Damage

    Universal Music Group filed a motion on Wednesday to dismiss a class-action lawsuit from attorneys representing Soundgarden, Hole, Steve Earle and the estates of Tupac and Tom Petty over master recordings reportedly destroyed in a 2008 fire, the extent of which was revealed last month in a New York Times article. UMG argues that the musicians cannot pursue a [...]

  • After Yet Another Rejection, What Could

    After Yet Another Rejection, What Could Be Next for Woodstock 50?

    In the wake of the Town of Vernon’s third rejection of Woodstock 50’s permit application to hold its music festival at a venue in the Upstate New York municipality, one may well wonder what the troubled event’s next move might be. In the hours after the latest rejection was announced, even the optimistic-bordering-on-unrealistic producers sounded [...]

  • US actor Kevin Spacey (C) is

    Kevin Spacey Sexual Assault Case Dropped in Nantucket

    Nantucket prosecutors have dropped a sexual assault case against actor Kevin Spacey, citing the “unavailability” of the complaining witness. Spacey had been accused of groping an 18-year-old busboy at the Club Car restaurant in July 2016. He was charged with indecent sexual assault, and a trial was set to be held in the fall. However, [...]

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Universal Music Updates Staff on Fire Damage in Internal Memo (Read)

    Ahead of an expected motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed last month by several artists over damage in the 2008 fire that destroyed hundreds of thousands of master recordings, according to the New York Times, the company’s chief archivist, Pat Kraus, issued a memo to the staff that has been obtained by Variety. While the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content