'CBS Early Show' Executive Producer Out After 16 Months

David Friedman

David Friedman will depart the beleaguered morning show, which recently replaced its anchors.

More turmoil at the CBS Early Show.

The net announced Monday that executive producer David Friedman will step down after just 16 months.

Chris Licht, the ep of MSNBC's Morning Joe, is expected to be hired as an executive of the network's news division, but will not replace Friedman directly. CBS declined to comment to The Hollywood Reporter.

CBS News chairman Jeff Fager and president David Rhodes said via email that they would be "announcing the new leadership for The Early Show within a few days." Read their entire email on page 2.

The show has been in third place in the ratings for years, despite sweeping anchor changes. Last November, Harry Smith, Maggie Rodriguez and weatherman Dave Price departed. In January, they were replaced by Erica Hill, Chris Wragge and Marysol Castro.

Fager and Rhodes have said they want the show to be newsier. Last month, Rhodes sent a scathing memo to the morning show team to "get with it."

“CBS News had a great weekend. And a bad Monday morning," he said the day after the network broke news like the Three Cups of Tea memoir scandal. "Where’s our reporting? Make sure it’s in our show.”

In a joint statement, Fager and Rhodes said, "David is a strong producer who has worked very hard and we intend to help him find the right place at CBS or elsewhere.”

The Times notes industry rumors that Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the anchors of Morning Joe, will follow Licht to CBS.

The CBS Early Show shakeup news comes the same day that competitor Today announced Meredith Vieira will step down on June 8. She'll be replaced the next day by newsreader Ann Curry. Today has been the No. 1 morning show for more than 800 weeks. [pagebreak]

Email from Fager and Rhodes:

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.