ABC's George Paul Wins DGA Award

ABC News' George Paul will be among the honorees at the 59th Annual Director's Guild of America Awards on Feb. 3, 2007, in Los Angeles.

Earlier this week, the DGA announced that Paul, director of "20/20" and "Primetime," would receive the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award -- marking only the fifth time a DGA member has received the honor for news direction.

When Paul first heard about the award from DGA President Michael Apted, he was shocked.

"I had no idea why he would have called me," Paul said. "I thought it was a joke. I thought it was something like winning the lottery. The lottery is won by chance, but this one wasn't. I'm a very lucky person."

In his 50-plus years in the business, Paul has directed broadcasts for news giants, including Tom Brokaw, Barbara Walters, Hugh Downs and Diane Sawyer.

He joined ABC in 1989 and has helmed more than 850 episodes of " 20/20" and "Primetime," in addition to a number of episodes of "Good Morning America," "This Week With David Brinkley" and "20/20 Downtown."

While studying accounting at Northwestern University in the early 1950s, Paul took an auditing job at ABC in Chicago. He segued into TV with a stage manager's position in 1954.

In 1969, Paul became a staff director at KNBC-TV in Los Angeles, 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, Paul was at the helm of NBC's "Today," with Jane Pauley and Bryant Gumbel.

"I've done things and gone places I would never even have imagined," said Paul.

Joining Paul in the 2006 DGA Awards class are film director-actor Carl Reiner; Taylor Hackford, who directed the 2004 film "Ray"; Paris Barclay, who's worked on ABC's "NYPD Blue" and NBC's "ER"; and Terry Benson of PBS' Channel Thirteen/WNET in New York.

Even though he's garnered a prestigious, albeit backward-looking honor like the Lifetime Achievement Award, Paul has no plans to slow down. In fact, he's as busy as ever, working not only on "20/20" and "Primetime" but also branching out into the digital world, overseeing five "20/20: In Touch" webcasts a week.

"I can't imagine it ever ending," Paul says. "Each day the bell rings, and it's a new round."