'Change in direction' cited by Fager, Rhodes

“The Early Show” exec producer David Friedman is out at the Eye’s morning news program.

CBS News prexy David Rhodes and chairman Jeff Fager sent an email to staff early Monday afternoon, saying that “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.”

It’s not a secret that Rhodes hasn’t been happy with the reporting on “The Early Show.” In a memo sent to staff last month, the division president excoriated the program’s staffers for failing to follow up on stories reported by other programs at CBS News. “Many of you on the ‘Early Show’ have asked for clarity on what we want,” Rhodes wrote. He cited several stories he’d wanted to see on the program and ended the email with “Let’s get with it. Where’s our reporting? Make sure it’s in our show.”

“Early Show” exec producer hasn’t been a terribly stable job for the last few years — the program is a fixture in the third-place spot (behind “Today” and “Good Morning America”) and its head position is notoriously short-lived. Friedman lasted 16 months in the role.

An end date for Friedman’s tenure was not set, but Rhodes and Fager said he would be leaving the broadcast “in the coming weeks” and that he had agreed to aid the net in the transition as the division covers upcoming events, including this week’s town hall with president Obama.

“David is a strong producer who has worked very hard and we intend to help him find the right place at CBS or elsewhere,” Rhodes and Fager said in their email message.

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