Legendary NBC and ABC Director George Paul Retires

By Chris Ariens Comment

After more than 50 years in the TV news business, George Paul is hanging up his headset. Paul, who has directed everyone from Tom Snyder to Jane Pauley to David Brinkley and Diane Sawyer began in the business in 1954.

Paul joined NBC on the West Coast in 1969. He headed East and directed the “Today” show with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley until he jumped to ABC in 1989 where he’s been directing, in the words of news boss David Westin, “hundreds of hours” of ABC News programs since.

The note from Westin, after the jump…

From: Westin, David L.
Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 2:36 PM
Subject: George Paul

After a remarkable career that has spanned over 5 decades, our colleague George Paul is retiring from the News Division. George’s leadership in the broadcast world is legendary. He has been a part of almost every major news event over the last 50 years and is responsible for some of the most distinctive programming on the air. He has one of the best eyes in the business.

George began in television in 1954 as a stage manager and has blazed a trail ever since. He became a staff director at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles in 1969, where he directed rising news stars Tom Brokaw and Tom Snyder; in 1976, he was named director of NBC’s “Tomorrow Show With Tom Snyder.”

Six years later, he was at the helm of “Today,” with Jane Pauley and
Bryant Gumbel. After an extraordinary run at NBC, we were able to
convince him to come to ABC News in 1989. Since then he has directed
hundreds of hours of “20/20” and “Primetime” in addition to “Good
Morning America”, “This Week with David Brinkley”, and “20/20 Downtown”.

It was George who came up with the look of “20/20 Downtown”, which was a breakthrough in newsmagazine production, putting the program and its anchors on a rooftop and shooting them in surprising ways.

In 2006 he received one of the most prestigious honors in the business – the Director’s Guild of America Lifetime Achievement Award, an accolade he richly deserved.

George’s tremendous contributions to ABC News have played a significant role in making us what we are today, and in shaping our future. He will always be a part of the ABC News family. Please join me in thanking George for all he has done for us and in wishing him the very best in retirement.