John Wells
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United States


A past president of the Writers Guild of America, West, John Wells struck ratings gold with NBC hit “ER” and parlayed that success into multiple other Emmy-nominated series for multiple networks with one overriding goal. “We try and portray real worlds,” Wells told Variety in 2012. “We tell stories from the inside out. It’s not ripped from the headlines.”

That’s true whether he’s crafting medical stories for “ER,” cop stories for “Southland” or family stories for “Shameless.” And he tries to employ writers with backgrounds that complement a show’s setting. “One of the things I enjoy the most about the work is meeting these interesting people who have had different experiences than I’ve had and who confide what has happened to them,” Wells said in 2012.

Wells, a 1979 graduate of Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Mellon University, gifted CMU with funding in 2011 to create the John Wells Directing Program, which includes a visiting professorship. Wells started in TV on ABC’s “China Beach” in the late 1980s. “Third Watch,” “The West Wing,” “Southland” and “Shameless” followed Wells’ success with “ER.” Along with “Shameless,” he’s currently producing season two of TNT’s “Animal Kingdom” and the debut season of TV Land’s “American Woman” starring Alicia Silverstone.


  • ER


  • Carnegie Mellon University (PA, USA)

Variety Honors

  • 2017 Variety500 Honoree
  • Showrunners Impact
  • TV Producers Impact
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