David Friedman is out as executive producer of The Early Show, three weeks to the day after new CBS News president David Rhodes sent out a department wide email blasting the morning show staff for their "bad Monday morning" performance
Friedman is the fifth Early Show producer to depart the program in four years. Friedman replaced Zev Shalev in December of 2009 after being hired away from NBC, where he was Carson Daly's producer on Last Call. Other producers included Rick Kaplan, "tantrum-prone" former Good Morning America producer Shelley Ross, and Michael Bass. None was able to improve The Early Show's consistently dreary ratings.
At the New York Times, Brian Stelter reports Rhodes is close to signing Morning Joe executive producer Chris Licht to replace Friedman. Such a move, writes Stelter, will "heighten questions about whether Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the leaders of 'Morning Joe,' will someday follow him to CBS," though it's unknown when the duo's contracts are up.