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'The Early Show' Exec Producer: Why Smith, Rodriguez and Price Had to Go

by Catherine Lawson, posted Dec 1st 2010 8:00AM
'The Early Show'Yesterday we heard that anchors Harry Smith and Maggie Rodriguez, plus meteorologist Dave Price, had been axed from 'The Early Show' in a major reshuffle of CBS News on-air talent.

Now, executive producer David Friedman has been explaining the reasons behind the sweeping -- and, to many, unexpected -- changes. He told The Hollywood Reporter that although the shakeup came after a lot of careful consideration, "it feels sudden because there are multiple people and it feels like a big deal."

The change of hosts has allegedly been a topic of discussion at CBS News for some time, according to sources, and it reinforces the critical importance of chemistry in morning television. Announcing the new anchors -- Erica Hill and Chris Wragge -- CBS News President Sean McManus said "This new team brings vibrancy, intelligence and warmth that I think America will grow to love."

Echoing that sentiment, Friedman said: "These shows are about the team ... It's about finding the right team."

Friedman has been in the job for less than a year, and under his tenure 'The Early Show' ratings have dropped to their lowest level since the 2000/01 season. He said that when he arrived he "looked at many different aspects of the show and tried to figure out what needed to be changed," adding that "obviously if things were, quote unquote, working, we wouldn't make changes."

But Friedman denied that the shuffle is just a ploy to grab higher ratings and thus higher ad revenue: "My mandate is a solid show, ... Ratings are obviously important. But as a producer I focus on the content and the quality of our broadcast. ... I'd like to say that the broadcast is going to continue to improve, and with that will come better ratings."

So what now for Smith, Rodriguez and Price? Pink slips just in time for the holidays? In a statement released Tuesday CBS said that veteran newsman Smith will "shift his focus to hard news with an expanded role as primary substitute anchor on 'The Evening News with Katie Couric,' 'Face the Nation' and 'Sunday Morning' while continuing to report major stories for all CBS News broadcasts."

But the future's less defined for Rodriguez and Price: The statement went on to say that the CBS news division is discussing "prominent and ongoing roles" for them. "We appreciate Harry, Maggie and Dave's countless contributions to 'The Early Show' and are looking forward to the contributions they each will continue to make at CBS News."

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Kimberly

I have been trying to give the new cast of The Early Show a chance. It has been 7 months and I am not convinced yet. I am now watching the NBC morning show. I really miss Harry Smith; he was intelligent and had a great since of humor. I too also watched The Early Show for the previous anchors. The show was informative and entertaining. I don't see that now.

July 19 2011 at 8:10 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jolyne

What a stupid, stupid move by Friedman. Getting rid of three Morning Show anchors who I loved. I now watch ABC Good Morning America.
Nice job ruining the Morning Show!

July 08 2011 at 7:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
fishman4402

Friedman blew it all the way with that new line up (Early Show) don't watch and don't care to. Katie proved to be in over her head on the news...whoever was responsible for that one should have used Harry Smith ! PLEASE don't screw up 60 minutes in all your 'changes'

July 08 2011 at 7:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jthrifty

I dont watch it any more dont like the new team

July 08 2011 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lee

I think that Harry,MAGGIE, DAVE, AND ERICA MADE THE EARLY SHOW . I DONT EVEN CARE TO WATCH THE NEW TEAM ........

July 08 2011 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rozan1e

I for one will NEVER watch the so called 'new team' because of what happened. I loved Harry, Maggie and Dave and really never liked Erica infact I couldn't wait until Maggie got back fro maternity leave because I felt I could go back to wathing Maggie and Harry. So I hope your rating drops because I for one do not watch the morning show any longer.

July 08 2011 at 4:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
bbjc629

The Early Show was doing just fine. As stated, the ratings dropped under the tenure of "the New Executive Producer" who had been there less than a year. Maybe the problem, if there was one, wasn't with the anchors, but with the "New Excutive Producer". I loved watching Harry, Maggie & Dave in the morning and still miss them. The new team does not have the same chemistry as the previous one. I don't like the nasal sound of Chris Wragge,nor do I care for the others. The Short lady doing the weather does not campare to Dave!!!!!!!! and the other guy is okay, but can't remember his name. They should have gotten rid of the "New Executive Producer"!!!!!!!!!
If it aint broke, don't screw with it or try to fix it!!!!!!!!!!

July 08 2011 at 4:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mgmarlins7

I miss Harry,Maggie and Dave Why you were change I don't know .I like the early show the way it was.Where are they now?I first saw Dave Price in New York and I wish I can see him again and I would like to see Maggie on t v again

July 08 2011 at 4:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rebecca

David Freidman of CSB Programming is nothing but a big puckered A-hole and CBS deserves to be at the bottom of ratings because of his decisions!

July 08 2011 at 4:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yyoung1217jd

I have been watching on occasion The Morning Show with the new anchors - note to CBS execs. - the change is not good - To Harry, Maggie, and especially Dave Price - YOU ARE MISSED!!!! The chemistry may be on the set, but not with the viewers! Please CBS reinstate the original anchors - HARRY, MAGGIE AND DAVE - not to mention JULIE - it is not the same without them. Now I do not want to tune in to Channel 2 The Morning Show anymore. Hope you reconsider - You have made a BIG mistake. DID SOMEONE AT CBS DISLIKE DAVE? You should have taken a poll first before you axed them. The weather segment is not the same!
By the way, based on the comment from - CBS News President Sean McManus said "This new team brings vibrancy, intelligence and warmth that I think America will grow to love." HOW LONG DO YOU THINK IT WOULD TAKE AMERICA TO GROW TO LOVE THIS NEW LINEUP? Based on your comment about intelligence - are you implying that the cast of Harry, Julie, Maggie and Dave did not have intelligence and warmth? What were you watching in the morning? I loved them and so did my family and friends. Looks like NBC, ABC, Fox and other networks benefited from your decision.

April 16 2011 at 12:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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