CBS’ Rick Kaplan exits ‘News’

Producer leaving along with Couric

It’s the second sudden departure in as many days at CBS News: Rick Kaplan is out as exec producer of “The CBS Evening News.”

Kaplan joined CBS in 2007 as Katie Couric’s selection for the “Evening News” post. With Couric almost out the door, Kaplan’s exit came as no surprise to Eye insiders. His last day at the Eye will be Thursday.

Kaplan’s previous gigs have included prexy of MSNBC and of CNN, along with a long stint as an exec at ABC News.

The new regime at CBS News — chairman Jeff Fager and prexy David Rhodes — are making sweeping changes at the net. On Monday CBS News confirmed that “Early Show” exec producer David Friedman will be departing in the next few weeks.

The revamped “Evening News” is likely to have a greater emphasis on hard reporting over charisma — incoming anchor Scott Pelley has strong hard news chops earned over a career at “60 Minutes,” where he will continue to serve. Pelley’s tenure on the program starts June 6.A person familiar with the situation described the departure amicable. Kaplan’s exit was announced at a meeting with staff at which both Couric and Fager praised the outgoing exec producer.