John Wells is one of the most prolific writers, directors and producers in television, film and for 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, and Third Watch. He currently serves as executive producer on the new TNT drama series Animal Kingdom, starring Ellen Barkin, whose second season is premiering this May, and on Showtime’s Emmy®- nominated Shameless, which just completed its seventh season and was recently renewed for an eighth season. He previously served as Executive Producer on the critically acclaimed Southland for TNT, the Emmy® and Golden Globe® winning Mildred Pierce for HBO, and the Emmy® and Golden-Globe® winning China Beach.
Shows produced by John Wells have received over 300 Emmy nominations with 64 Emmy wins, and 6 Peabody Awards. During its fifteen year run, ER earned 124 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 also served as President of the Writers Guild of America, West from 2009-2011 and previously served as its President from 1999-2001 and was vital to the success of the 2001 MBA contract negotiations.
Most recently, Wells directed and produced the comedic drama Burnt starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, and Daniel Bruhl, and produced The Beach Boys biopic Love & Mercy, starring Paul Dano. Previously, he helmed the acclaimed August: Osage County, based on Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play of the same name. The film featured an all-star ensemble cast led by Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, and was nominated for two Academy Awards®. Wells also wrote and directed The Company Men, starring Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Tommy Lee Jones and Chris Cooper, which was his feature directorial debut. Previous feature production credits include: Carroll Ballard’s acclaimed drama Duma; Peter Kominsky’s White Oleander; Neil Jordan’s The Good Thief; Andrzej Bartkowiak’s Doom; and Michael Mayer’s A Home at the End of the World. Additionally, Wells executive produced Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven and I’m Not There, Mark Romanek’s One Hour Photo, Todd Graff’s Camp, Fenton Bailey’s Party Monster, Robert Altman’s The Company, John Waters’ A Dirty Shame, Mary Harron’s The Notorious Bettie Page, Phyllis Nagy’s Mrs. Harris, Tom Kalin’s Savage Grace, Douglas McGrath’s Infamous and Jordan Scott’s Cracks.
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 master’s degree in film and television at the University of Southern California, where he also serves on the school’s Television Executive Advisory Council.