Barely five months after replacing its morning crew, the "CBS Early Show" has fired its producer, David Friedman, as the show tries to move in a more hard-news direction and focus more on original reporting.
The move came on the same day the top-rated morning show, NBC's "Today," announced the exit of co-anchor Meredith Vieira and promotions for Ann Curry, Natalie Morales, and Samantha Guthrie. Both the "Early Show" and ABC's "Good Morning America" hope to siphon off the show's viewers.
CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and CBS News president David Rhodes said in an email to staff Monday that new leadership would be announced in the next few days.
"As all of you know, since we took over CBS News, we have been asking for a change in direction at 'The Early Show,' and not the kind of show that David Friedman was hired to run," the e-mail said. "With that in mind we have agreed with David that he should be able to move on and he will be leaving the broadcast in the coming weeks."
Fager and Rhodes said Friedman was a "strong producer who has worked very hard and we intend to help him find the right place at CBS or elsewhere."
The move comes three weeks after Rhodes sent a blistering memo to the show criticizing the morning show for not showcasing the network's original newsgathering work. "CBS News had a great weekend," said the memo, sent 15 minutes after the show ended. "And a bad Monday morning."
CBS ejected "Early Show" anchors Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and Dave Price, replacing them with Erica Hill, Chris Wragge and Marysol Castro on Jan. 3.