David Friedman, the executive producer of CBS' "The Early Show," has been let go, the network announced Monday. Friedman had only been at the helm of the troubled morning show for 16 months; his ouster adds yet another layer of instability to a program that, try as it might, cannot seem to make enough people watch it.
CBS certainly gave Friedman a shot at revamping "Early." In December, he brought in a completely new team, replacing all of the program's front-line anchors. But the audience seemingly took no notice and, in a memo to CBS staff on Monday, the heads of CBS News, David Rhodes and Jeff Fager, made clear that they had become dissatisfied with Friedman's stewardship. The show they wanted, Rhodes and Fager wrote, was "not the kind of show that David Friedman was hired to run," and he would be "leaving the broadcast in the coming weeks."
In late April, Rhodes sent a stinging memo to the "Early Show," criticizing it for not being aggressive enough in promoting CBS exclusives. At the time, Friedman was already considered to be on his way out. He now becomes the second Friedman to be fired by CBS in recent months; his father, Paul, a longtime CBS executive, was let go in February.
The full memo:
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. 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. David is a strong producer who has worked very hard and we intend to help him find the right place at CBS or elsewhere. He will get us through some important Early Show events before leaving including this week's town hall with President Obama, and the one that will follow with Republican leaders. We will be announcing the new leadership at The Early Show within a few days and David has agreed to help with that transition.