Producer John Wells solidifies his 'West Wing' ties
President Obama's fundraiser Monday evening for Democratic members of Congress is set to unfold at some other presidential digs — the Hancock Park home of television producer and president of the Writers Guild of America, West, John Wells.
The $2,500-a-head gathering is expected to draw some of the biggest names in Hollywood, including director Steven Spielberg, mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg and television and movie producer J.J. Abrams.
The fundraiser is for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Wells contributed $30,400 to the group June 30, according to federal campaign finance records.
No word from Wells' camp whether the mega-producer plans to use his window with the president to voice his objections to the proposed merger of Comcast Corp. and NBC Universal. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission are reviewing the proposed $30-billion transaction. Earlier this year, Wells, whose producing credits include the hits "ER" and "The West Wing," spoke out against the transaction to the Senate Commerce Committee, saying there had been too much media consolidation already.
"Over the past several decades, our industry has consolidated from literally dozens of independent entrepreneurs and suppliers, including many writer-owners making innovative and groundbreaking programming to a handful of large media conglomerates most often controlling content from start to finish," Wells told the Committee. The result, he said, was that decisions on which shows go on television were based more often on financial calculations than quality.
Wells' office referred media inquiries to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Warner Bros., meanwhile, dismissed our semi-serious inquiries that maybe props from "The West Wing" — including the true-to-scale West Wing rug complete with the presidential seal — might be taken out of the studio's corporate vault and used for the gala so that Obama might feel more at home. Wells was executive producer and show runner for the long-running NBC drama.
— Meg JamesPhoto: John Wells. Credit: Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times.