With such television credits as ER and The West Wing, writer/producer John Wells' resumé reads something like a list of the biggest small-screen hits of the 1990s. There's no question that his television ventures served him well in that decade, and with feature production work on such theatrical hits as The Peacemaker (1997), Far From Heaven, and White Oleander (both 2002) following shortly thereafter, the prolific television figure was poised to make his mark on the film world as well. A native of Alexandria, VA, who spent the majority of his childhood in Denver, CO, Wells graduated from Carnegie Melon University and earned his master's degree at the University of Southern California. Early work as co-executive and supervising producer on television's China Beach provided the burgeoning producer with just the taste of show business needed to fuel his creativity; it was during his tenure on the series that China Beach was nominated for both Peabody and Humanatis awards, in addition to three WGA nominations and six Emmy nominations.
Subsequent small-screen ventures such as The Nightman and Angel Street may have failed to live up to expectations in the early '90s, but Wells' involvement with the 1994 series ER found his career truly taking off. A runaway hit throughout the decade and into the new millennium, the wildly popular series earned a slew of awards under Wells' production. In 1997, Wells teamed with ER star George Clooney for the high-stakes thriller The Peacemaker, marking Wells' first foray into feature films. In the years that immediately followed, Wells' small-screen success continued to grow, and his name also became attached to numerous critically praised features. When Aaron Sorkin's political drama The West Wing made its television bow in 1999, its sharp dialogue and convincing portrayal of the Washington elite scored a direct hit with audiences, a fact that was, no doubt, aided by Wells' involvement as a producer.
The West Wing would eventually rival even ER in terms of popularity, and Wells' next television endeavor, the popular police drama Third Watch, found him once again thriving. Wells' subsequent involvement as producer on such theatrical releases as One Hour Photo, Far From Heaven, Party Monster, and Camp seemed to indicate that he was moving away from small-screen work. He returned to television, though, with the medical drama Presidio Med in 2002, but the series found only moderate success. By this point, Wells was primarily a feature producer, a fact that he would drive home with work on such films as A Home at the End of the World, Shadows, and Daisy Winters (all 2004).