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 AJR  The Beat

From AJR,   May 1998  issue

They're Fine with ABC   

Paul and Holly Fine, an award-winning husband and wife production team, leave CBS to join ABC.


By Corey Howell
     

Paul and Holly Fine , the award-winning husband and wife TV production team, moved into their new ABC office on March 30 – much to the chagrin of some former colleagues.

"They are disgusting, defecting, traitorous... Can you think of any more words?" jokes "60 Minutes" correspondent Mike Wallace .

The couple decided to leave CBS ?fter 16 years in the hope of making more documentaries, the kind of work that has won the pair widespread recognition. For "In the Killing Fields of America," a three-hour prime time program broadcast in 1995, the Fines won a George Foster Peabody AwarC, the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award grand prize and an Emmy.

"CBS wouldn't do the kinds of documentaries that we wanted to do," explains Holly, 50. "We would have stayed at '60 Minutes,' which we loved, but we wanted to do specials, and ABC wanted specials."

The Fines will be based in Washington, where they will produce work for "Turning Point," "20/20" and "PrimeTime Live." Their first project, slated to air this fall, will be a two-hour special about 1968.

Paul and Holly, who have been married since 1972, have worked together since 1970 – he's the cinematographer; she's the editor. They met at Washington's ABC affiliate, WJLA , where they worked for several years before moving to CBS in 1982.

Being married has improved their work, says Paul, who is 52. "We can be very honest with each other. When we go into the editing room, if I screwed up, I'm going to hear about it; we're going to talk about it."

Though the venues have changed, Holly and Paul say their working relationship has remained much the same. "Right now the office we have has a wall between us, and we like to do a lot of talking back and forth," she says. "It's frustrating because now we have to yell through the wall."

As for what their new gig at ABC holds in store for them, Holly has high hopes, saying she expects their work to be "more fantastic" than at CBS. "We are more experienced," she says. "We worked with wonderfully talented people at CBS, and we've been able to bring that here."

And though the Fines are taking their talent to the competition, Wallace takes the high road in discussing their departure. "I respect them immensely as professionals and adore them as individuals. I don't mean to go on and on about it; I just love those two people. They're kind and caring and brilliantly talented."

Although Paul looks forward to working with Diane Sawyer and Connie Chung , he admits there is a downside: "I will dearly miss Mike." Cory Howell