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Cornelius News

Emmy winner says Cornelius is a great locale to call home

Bill & Debbie Hill with Emmy

Bill and Debbie Hill live in Harborside

By Dave Yochum. Cornelius is far from Klieg lights, greasepaint and red carpets, but Emmy Award winner Bill Hill calls it home. He won the Primetime Emmy for Producing Outstanding Comedy of the year for HBO’s “Veep,” which stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus of “Seinfeld” fame.

Hill, 59, and wife Debbie, a Mary Kay senior sales director, live in the Harborside townhouses off West Catawba. They moved in in 2007 and have a blended family of four as well as nine grandchildren.

“It’s been great not to live in L.A.,” says Hill, a successful behind-the-scenes and behind-the-camera player in what’s practically a national industry. Movies and television series film all over the country, with New York, Georgia and Louisiana being hot-spots outside of LA. North Carolina sees fewer projects after tax credits were taken away by the legislature.

Hill is a freelance producer home-based in Cornelius. Over the past 30 years, he has worked on a variety of different productions, from Wilmington to Nashville, from Pittsburgh, Pa., to New Mexico, where he is working on a half-hour comedy series for Lionsgate Television starring Nick Nolte.

He was co-producer of the “Nashville” pilot as well as Cinemax’s first original scripted drama “Banshee.”

Hill, who grew up outside Boston, has worked at everything from accountant to grip—a lighting and rigging technician. In fact he was a grip on the 1984 Steven King thriller “Firestarter,” which was filmed in Wilmington.

“Veep” is really big. It premiered on HBO in 2012, with an eight-episode season. This was followed by a second season of 10 episodes, then the 2014 and 2015 seasons. And in April of this year, HBO ordered a fifth season which will film in Los Angeles. This was Hill’s first Emmy nomination and first win.

He is highly regarded in Hollywood for his work on television pilots and helping them get picked up, including “Three Rivers,” “Nashville” and “Revenge.”

In fact, he is known as “The Jobfather” for his efforts to hire locals. “I love being a mentor,” he says.

Lionsgate Chairman Kevin Beggs says Hill “is a friend to the creative process and a bottom-line production guy rolled into one—an incredibly rare find in today’s television landscape.”

Over the past six years, Hill’s productions have contributed upwards of $200 million to local economies, he says, explaining there are communities of freelancers who stay put, while productions come and go.

“It’s all about creating jobs,” he says.