Ross tapped sr. exec producer of 'Early Show'

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NEW YORK -- CBS News made it official Monday and named "Good Morning America" veteran Shelley Ross senior executive producer of third-place breakfastcast "The Early Show." She takes over Sept. 17.

Ross will take the place of vp morning broadcasts Steve Friedman and senior executive producer Michael Bass, who delivered to CBS gains in viewership and the key adult and women demographics over the past year. CBS is talking to Friedman and Bass about new roles, the network said.

Ross, who guided "GMA" to a competitive position against "Today," is inheriting a broadcast that even with the year-to-year ratings gains is still far behind "Today" or her old show. "The Early Show," and the myriad of predecessors dating back to the early 1960s, have never been able to compete against "Today" or "GMA."

CBS hopes to change that with Ross, who took over "GMA" in one of its low periods in the late 1990s and brought it out of its decline to come close to "Today" in the ratings. And just as important for ABC, "GMA" became much more competitive from an ad revenue standpoint. "Early Show" also will get a boost from the recent agreement to require all CBS stations to carry the two-hour program. That starts Jan. 7.

Ross is credited with bringing "GMA" on the road to cities with top affiliates, putting a news crawl at the bottom of the screen and her aggressive efforts for booking in the hand-to-hand combat that is the morning show world. She left "GMA" and became executive producer of "PrimeTime Live" until 2005, and left ABC in 2006.

She has won three Emmys and has worked at a producer at "The Tomorrow Show" anchored by Tom Snyder and a producer at NBC News earlier in her career.
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