John Masius

Producer, Screenwriter, TV series creator
Known for his work on such critically acclaimed fare as "St. Elsewhere" (NBC) and "Brooklyn Bridge" (CBS), and the more recent popular success like "Touched By an Angel" (CBS) writer-producer-series creator John Masius ... Read more »
Born: 07/29/1950 in Scarsdale, New York, USA

Filmography

Writer (8)

The Single Guy 1988 - 1989, 1991 - 1993, 1995 - 2004, 2008 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Writer

Brooklyn Bridge 1988 - 1989, 1991 - 1993, 1995 - 2004, 2008 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Writer

Dead Like Me: Life After Death 2008 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

Providence 1998 - 2003 (TV Show)

Creator

Touched By an Angel 1994 - 2003 (TV Show)

Creator

Nick & Hillary 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Creator

Tattinger's 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Writer

The White Shadow (TV Show)

Story By
Producer (8)

HawthoRNe 1988 - 1989, 1991 - 1993, 1995 - 2004, 2008 - 2011 (Tv Show)

Showrunner

L.A. Law 1988 - 1989, 1991 - 1993, 1995 - 1996, 1998 - 2004, 2008 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Co-Executive Producer

Providence 1988 - 1989, 1992 - 1993, 1998 - 2004, 2008 - 2010 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Dead Like Me 1988 - 1989, 1998 - 2004, 2008 - 2009 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Dolphin Cove 1988 - 1989, 1998 - 2004, 2008 - 2009 (Tv Show)

Co-Executive Producer

The Visitor 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Ferris Bueller 1989 - 1991 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

St. Elsewhere 1982 - 1988 (TV Show)

Producer

Biography

Known for his work on such critically acclaimed fare as "St. Elsewhere" (NBC) and "Brooklyn Bridge" (CBS), and the more recent popular success like "Touched By an Angel" (CBS) writer-producer-series creator John Masius has had a career peppered with misfires (remember CBS' "Dolphin Cove" and NBC's "Nick and Hilary"?), making the surprise success of his 1999 midseason replacement "Providence" (NBC) all the sweeter. While working as a waiter in Los Angeles in 1978, Masius was invited by producer Bruce Paltrow to join the production team for the series "The White Shadow" (CBS, 1978-81). Hired as a gofer, within three years he would rack up writing and producing credits on the powerful high school basketball themed drama.

In 1982, he again joined executive producer Paltrow, working on the series "St. Elsewhere" as producer and writer and joining Tom Fontana to form an award-winning screenwriting team responsible for some of that time's best television. A remarkably well-written series, "St. Elsewhere" went beyond the routine medical dramas of TV's past, delving into serious issues with a minimum of melodrama, managing to be both heartfelt and edgy, and remaining unpredictable even after six seasons on the air. After that show's demise, he and Paltrow co-created the short-lived "Tattinger's" (NBC, 1988-89), an engaging drama set at a restaurant on New York's Upper West Side. The failure of this series was followed by the 1989 two-episode run of his offshoot "Nick & Hilary", a sitcom version of "Tattinger's" that proved it was the characters and concept, not the genre, to which audiences were not responding. 1989 also saw the quick demise of "Dolphin Cove", a forgettable adventure drama co-produced by Masius.

In 1990, Masius took on the sitcom genre, developing, creating, producing as well as writing the pilot for "Ferris Bueller", a failed TV adaptation of the hit teen comedy film "Ferris Bueller's Day Off". Masius recovered as writer and creative consultant for the first season of the critically acclaimed and modestly popular "Brooklyn Bridge", a heartwarming look at Brooklyn in the 1950s through the experiences of a close-knit Jewish family. While it had its funny moments, the uncommon and realistic half-hour series played more like a television drama than a sitcom and lived on in reruns long past its run.

Masius' next challenge brought him to "L.A. Law" in 1992, its producers looking to the renowned screenwriter to help steer the flailing drama through its troubled seventh season. The series continued to falter, and Masius, finding the creative atmosphere uncomfortable and the cast members uncooperative, was fired partway through the season. Success would shine on him again with the hit CBS drama "Touched By an Angel" (1994- ), although Masius would be invited to enjoy his part of the celebration outside of the creative process. His pilot script was thought to be too skeptical of God's goodness, not in keeping with producers' vision for the series, and he was promptly fired. As creator of the series, Masius was still able to reap some of its financial rewards if not have a hand in bringing the somewhat cloying heavenly program down-to-earth. He returned to comedy with the uninspired effort "The Single Guy" (NBC, 1995-1996), a series that benefited greatly from its post-"Friends" time slot, but stood out as clearly the weakest link in the network's blockbuster Thursday night lineup. "The Visitor" (Fox, 1997) would mark his first entry into sci-fi programming, and its quick demise was evidence that when it comes to otherworldly entertainment, audiences aren't really interested in Masius' brand of slice of life earthiness.

After this spate of hard professional times, Masius scored a bona fide hit with the 1999 midseason replacement "Providence" (NBC). Although not as edgy as his work on "St. Elsewhere, (and nowhere near as envelope-pushing as the contemporary series former writing partner Fontana was working on), the show had a refreshingly uncynical appeal. Masius brought to the screen more of his lovably off-the-wall character's with the show's family, the Hansens. Dr Sydney Hansen (Melina Kanakaredes )was a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon to the stars who moves back to her childhood home in the titular city following her mother's death and the discovery of her live-in boyfriend's apparent bisexuality. She takes on a low-paying but rewarding job in a low-income medical clinic and tries to get her life on track. One of the zanier aspects of the series has Syd's neuroticisms manifesting themselves in the form of a walking, talking apparition of her mother that haunts her dreams every night, offering guidance. Surrounding Syd is her long-suffering veterinarian father Jim (Mike Farrell), her outspoken single mother sister Joanie (Paula Cale), and her ne'er-do-well brother Robbie (Seth Peterson). Part medical drama, part domestic comedy, and part old-fashioned feel-good family fare, the series showed its contemporary savvy with a dose of "Ally McBeal"-esque neurotic fantasy thrown in for good measure, and, as was true of "St. Elsewhere", writers did not shy away from the still rare unpredictable plot twists, like killing off a likable recurring character. Although quirky, "Providence" was an unapologetic, hopeful and affirming series, and as such impressed few critics, but the show found a large and loyal audience, and marked Masius' triumphant return to television.

Relationships

Ellen Bry

Wife
had regular role as Nurse Shirley Daniels on "St Elsewhere" from 1982-85

Hannah Masius

Daughter
mother, Ellen Bry

Max Masius

Son
mother, Ellen Bry

Samuel Masius

Son
born on April 8, 1991 mother, Ellen Bry

EDUCATION

University of California Los Angeles

Los Angeles , California

University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia , Pennsylvania

Milestones

1999

Scored a hit with the popular NBC drama "Providence"

1997

Executive producer and wrote episodes of the short-lived sci-fi series "The Visitor" (Fox)

1994

Created the series "Touched By an Angel" (CBS) but was quickly dismissed as writer due to the spiritual skepticism present in his scripts

1990

Developed, created, produced and wrote the pilot for "Ferris Bueller" (NBC), the TV adaptation of the hit teen comedy feature "Ferris Bueller's Day Off",

1989

Was co-executive producer of the failed adventure drama "Dolphin Cove" (CBS)

1989

Co-created (with Paltrow) the even shorter-lived spin-off series "Nick & Hilary" (also NBC), a comedic take on the characters and themes of "Tattinger's"

1982

Was producer and writer of the acclaimed NBC drama "St Elsewhere", executive produced by Paltrow

1981

Became a writer and producer for "The White Shadow" (date approximate)

1978

While working as a waiter, was invited by producer Bruce Paltrow to work as a gofer on his new series "The White Shadow" (CBS)

Was writer and creative consultant of "Brooklyn Bridge", a critically lauded comedy/drama focusing on the life of a close-knit Jewish family in 1950s Brooklyn, New York

Was writer and creative consultant on the sitcom "The Single Guy" (NBC)

Was brought in as co-executive producer and writer for the seventh season of "L.A. Law"

With Paltrow, co-created and wrote episodes of the short-lived drama "Tattinger's" (NBC) centered around an Upper West Side Manhattan restaurant

Bonus Trivia

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Masius on the cool critical reception to "Providence": "I'm proud of the show. I know it's not cutting edge, and we're not sodomizing people in jail cells, but there's a real hearth-like comfort zone to this show, which is fine with me."Critically acclaimed doesn't pay the mortgage." --quoted in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, March 26, 1999

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