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CBS captures 2nd Friedman

Months before Katie Couric’s September debut, CBS News and Sports prexy Sean McManus named another top exec to the news division.

Paul Friedman, a former ABC producer who offered a lengthy prescription to revitalize CBS’ “Evening News” in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece, was named vice president of CBS News.

Friedman, who will oversee all aspects of the net’s hard-news coverage, joins Steve Friedman, who was recently hired to oversee “The Early Show,” as McManus’ two top deputies. In a statement, McManus said the hire “completes our senior executive team.”

Paul Friedman recently served as a news consultant and exec producer of the Wall Street Journal’s “The Journal Report” on PBS. Before that, he was exec VP and managing editor for news coverage at ABC News, where he oversaw both “World News Tonight With Peter Jennings” and “Good Morning America” as well as all newsgathering at the net.

A year ago, Friedman offered a prescription for the then-ailing “Evening News” in the Journal.

Among his suggestions were giving personalities such as “The Daily Show’s” Jon Stewart and MSNBC’s Tucker Carlson a forum to comment on the news.

“Why are the sensibilities of the Onion seen only on the Web and on piles of papers stacked on college campuses and a few city corners?” he wrote. “Why not use animation and puppet caricatures to convey opinion?”

Bob Schieffer has been asked to contribute opinion segments after Couric begins as anchor next fall and is reported to be mulling over the opportunity.

Friedman’s prescription for the “Evening News” included a five-minute summary of the top stories at the top of the broadcast followed by a “big chunk of time — 10 minutes or so — on covering one really good story.”

On that story, he wrote, “insist that your best reporters and cameramen and editors and graphics designers take the skills they now lavish on the magazine show/tabloid story of the day, and devote the same attention to telling and explaining stories that matter to people.”

Before ABC, Friedman worked at NBC for 14 years; he was exec producer of “NBC Magazine With David Brinkley” and “Prime Time Live With Tom Snyder” in the early ’80s.

He had stints as executive producer of NBC News’ “Today” and as senior producer of NBC’s “Nightly News.”

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