Michelle Lesley Johnson

A TV drama writer who transitioned from comedy, Michelle also transitioned from writers’ room support staff to staff writer.

Michelle Lesley JohnsonMichelle was once an academic coach for NFL- and NBA- bound student-athletes. A mix of Baltimore-born grit, some North Carolina-raised charm, and a unique ability to motivate high achievement. Let’s just say she can lead horses to water and get them to drink.

She broke into the business by working every support staff job going—WPA, WA, SC—writing her first comedies for House of Payne and Meet The Browns, both on TBS, and Let’s Stay Together on BET. Moving into TV drama, she’s a staff writer on Rescue HI-Surf (FOX) premiering in fall 2024, after serving as a script coordinator on notable shows including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Acolyte and BMF.

Her drama pilot, “The Fifth Quarter,” earned a coveted First-Look Deal in the FOX Writers Incubator. That script also made the 2nd Round of the Sundance Episodic Lab. Another pilot “Hip Hop High” along with “The Fifth Quarter,” led to her selection as a Disney Writing Program Semi-finalist. She also has a feature film set up at Kronicle Media.

Michelle’s also an educator with an MA in Language, Literacy and Culture from Berkeley’s School of Ed. She’s an alumna of UNC (Communications) and The Cosby Screenwriting Fellowship through USC.

Testimonials

The Televisionary class I took with Michelle exceeded my expectations! I’ve taken several screenwriting classes over the past two years, and Michelle was perhaps the most generous, hands-on instructor I’ve had. She was willing to help students work through challenges they encountered with assignments, as well as share her own experience in an effort to help those who are looking to break in. While I didn’t think I initially “needed” to take Televisionary, I’m so happy I did. I left with real tools that I believe will help me be a better screenwriter.

— Simone Keelah

Michelle Lesley Johnson was a wonderful instructor who put in the extra step to ensure we understood the tools we’d been given throughout the class. Michelle gave thoughtful feedback and even went the extra mile to give us guidance on questions we had beyond craft questions, even offering advice on career development as well. Michelle is wonderful!

— Chelsea Ishikawa

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