Jul 14, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Award-winning writer John Sacret Young is joining the writing staff of “The West Wing” as a consulting producer in what is expected to be the first of several hires to revive the show after creator Aaron Sorkin’s departure.
Mr. Young created the award-winning ABC series “China Beach,” which was a character-driven drama with political overtones set during the Vietnam war. “West Wing” suffered from criticism last year that the show was too political and needed to get back to its character-driven roots.
Mr. Young has worked with “West Wing” executive producer John Wells before, when both were executive producers of “China Beach,” which aired from 1988 to 1991. After Mr. Sorkin exited “West Wing,” Mr. Wells, whose company, John Wells Productions, produces the show along with Warner Bros., agreed to step in and take more of a hands-on role overseeing the show this year. Mr. Wells is also executive producer of “ER” and “Third Watch.”
In addition to Mr. Young, sources said, “The West Wing” is beefing up its writing staff and is expected to announce more additions next week during NBC’s portion of the Television Critics Association press tour.
Mr. Young has won the Writer’s Guild of America Award and a Peabody Award for episodes of “China Beach” and been nominated for five Emmy Awards. In its three seasons on the air, “China Beach” was nominated for 29 Emmy Awards.
More recently, Mr. Young has written numerous TV movies, including ABC’s 2000 Muhammad Ali telepic “King of the World,” Showtime’s “Sirens” in 1999 and “Thanks of a Grateful Nation” for Showtime in 1998.
NBC confirmed Mr. Young’s hiring but had no further comment.