Tom Fontana, who won a Humanitas Prize for his work on St. Elsewhere during that show’s run, has been elected president of Humanitas, the nonprofit that supports and rewards TV and film writers whose works “entertain, engage and enrich the viewing public.” The longtime TV and film producer succeeds John Wells, who steps down Friday, the day the organization holds its annual awards ceremony at the Montage Beverly Hills (see those nominees here). “Tom Fontana is a writer and producer who has not only had tremendous commercial and critical success, but whose work exemplifies the ideals of Humanitas,” said executive director Cathleen Young. “We are thrilled to see him step into the presidency and eagerly anticipate supporting him in his new role.” Meanwhile, previous Humanitas trustees Hart Hanson (Bones), Ali LeRoi (Everybody Hates Chris) and David Shore (House) have been added to the board of directors, joining Wells, John Sacret Young, Neal Baer, Marshall Herskovitz, Carol Mendelsohn and Ed Zwick.
Wells steps aside after serving as president in 2008. He was instrumental in the creation of Humanitas’ New Voices initiative, which pairs emerging writers with trustees to develop original TV pilots, helping to land script agreements with ABC, CBS, NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox, Fox 21, HBO, Sony and Lionsgate. Five pilots are currently being developed through the program.