Sheila Nevins

Executive


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two-hour Archive interview, Sheila Nevins describes her early experience in documentary filmmaking for PBS's The Great American Dream Machine and CBS's Who's Who and details her hiring at HBO in the late 1970s. She talks of the state of the network during its early years and defines her role as Director of Documentaries. She discusses her short-lived production company, Spinning Wheels and recounts several of the programs she produced for HBO, including the popular series Eros America (later called Real Sex). She outlines her return to HBO in 1986, now as a Vice President and speaks of several notable documentary and family series that she oversaw, including Taxicab Confessions, The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter, Half-Past Autumn: The Life & Works of Gordon Parks, and Elaine Stritch: At Liberty. She also comments on the programming she's overseen at Cinemax. Karen Herman conducted the interview in New York, NY on May 2, 2006.

"Everything that I do is related in some way to work. I'm sure that if I didn't work, I'd find work. I just love telling people's stories and I love to hear people telling their stories."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Sheila Nevins on being a woman in the entertainment business
Sheila Nevins on producing Eros America for HBO (later Real Sex)
Sheila Nevins on the HBO series Taxicab Confessions
Sheila Nevins on the documentary Elaine Stritch: At Liberty
Sheila Nevins on the documentary Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on keeping her maiden name; on not having hobbies as a child; on not being allowed to watch television as a kid; on attending Barnard for college and Yale for her M.A. in directing
On her start in television - as an actress in Adventures in English; on her first marriage; on jobs she held in New York; on working on CBS' Who's Who as a segment producer and hearing of an opening at HBO; on working on PBS' The Great American Dream Machine
On getting fired from 20/20; on working at CBS; on liking to have control

Chapter 2

On starting at HBO; on being asked to produce 60 Minutes; on not wanting to be on camera; on being hired by Michael Fuchs at HBO; on the state of HBO when she was hired; on documentaries of the day; on ideas for and developing her first documentaries; on having autonomy at HBO
On how she is as a boss; on personalities she works well with; on being a woman in the entertainment business; on her role model, Gloria Steinem; on the executive staff at HBO during her early years; on parlaying her 13 week deal into 25 years at HBO
On being a producer for 4 years at her company, Spinning Reels; on producing Eros America for HBO (later renamed Real Sex)

Chapter 3

On how she handled criticism of sexual content on HBO; on the audience of HBO's sex programming; on leaving Spinning Reels and returning to HBO in 1986 as a Vice-President
On the state of HBO in 1986; on the documentary series America Undercover
On the process of making a documentary: generating ideas, staying within budgets, and selecting producers

Chapter 4

On the HBO documentary In Memoriam 9/11; on the HBO series Taxicab Confessions; on family programming at HBO
On Cinemax Reel Time; on her favorite documentary projects; on Cathouse; on challenges with documentaries; on the documentaries The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter, Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks, and Elaine Stritch: At Liberty; on what makes a perfect documentary; on her imprint on the industry; on advice to aspiring television executives and to aspiring female television executives; on how important it is for her to keep working; on awards
Shows

20/20

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Sheila Nevins on getting fired from 20/20

60 Minutes

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Sheila Nevins on being asked to produce 60 Minutes  

America Undercover

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Sheila Nevins on the documentary series America Undercover

American Family, An

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Sheila Nevins on PBS' An American Family

Cinemax Reel Life

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Sheila Nevins on Cinemax Reel Time

Elaine Stritch: At Liberty

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Sheila Nevins on the documentary Elaine Stritch: At Liberty

Eros America

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Sheila Nevins on producing Eros America for HBO (later Real Sex)

Great American Dream Machine, The

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Sheila Nevins on working on PBS' The Great American Dream Machine and cutting it into The History of America

Taxicab Confessions

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Sheila Nevins on the HBO series Taxicab Confessions

Who's Who

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Sheila Nevins on working on CBS' Who's Who as a segment producer and hearing of an opening at HBO
Sheila Nevins on wanting to be able to ask her own questions during interviews, but not wanting to be on camera
Topics

9/11

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Sheila Nevins on the HBO documentary In Memoriam 9/11

Sex & Violence

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Sheila Nevins on producing Eros America for HBO (later Real Sex)
Sheila Nevins on how she handled criticism of sexual content on HBO

War on Terror

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Sheila Nevins on the HBO documentary Baghdad ER

Women

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Sheila Nevins on being a woman in the entertainment business
Professions

Cable Executive

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Sheila Nevins on the process of making a documentary for HBO
Sheila Nevins on telling Michael Fuchs she wanted to return to HBO as a Vice-President
Sheila Nevins on what makes a perfect documentary
Genres

News and Documentary

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Sheila Nevins on getting fired from 20/20
Sheila Nevins on producing Eros America for HBO (later Real Sex)
Sheila Nevins on the documentary series America Undercover
Sheila Nevins on the process of making a documentary for HBO
Sheila Nevins on Cinemax Reel Time
Sheila Nevins on what makes a perfect documentary
Sheila Nevins on the documentary Half Past Autumn: The Life and Works of Gordon Parks
Sheila Nevins on the documentary The Broadcast Tapes of Dr. Peter
Sheila Nevins on the HBO series Taxicab Confessions
Sheila Nevins on the HBO documentary In Memoriam 9/11
Sheila Nevins on the documentary Elaine Stritch: At Liberty
People

Michael Fuchs

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Sheila Nevins on being hired by Michael Fuchs at HBO
Sheila Nevins on the executive staff at HBO during her early years
Sheila Nevins on telling Michael Fuchs she wanted to return to HBO as a Vice-President

Don Hewitt

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Sheila Nevins on being offered a job by Don Hewitt
Sheila Nevins on being asked to produce 60 Minutes

Don Mischer

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Sheila Nevins on working with Don Mischer, and George Schlatter early in her career

Dan Rather

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Sheila Nevins on meeting Mike Wallace and Dan Rather at CBS

George Schlatter

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Sheila Nevins on working with Don Mischer, and George Schlatter early in her career

Bob Shanks

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Sheila Nevins on getting fired from 20/20

Gloria Steinem

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Sheila Nevins on her role model, Gloria Steinem

Elaine Stritch

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Sheila Nevins on the documentary Elaine Stritch: At Liberty

Mike Wallace

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Sheila Nevins on meeting Mike Wallace and Dan Rather at CBS

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