Management change expected at CBS morning show

By David Bauder

Associated Press

NEW YORK — CBS News is expected to change management at its morning show, bringing a hard-charging former "Good Morning America" executive producer to help a program that’s spent generations stuck in third place.

Shelley Ross is expected to be named executive in charge of "The Early Show" in the next few weeks, according to two broadcast news insiders with knowledge of the talks who spoke on condition of anonymity on Friday.

It’s unclear what Ross’ hiring would mean for Steve Friedman, brought on in March 2006 as vice president of morning broadcasts at CBS News (part of CBS Corp.), or the show’s current executive producer, Michael Bass.


"The Early Show" has crept closer in the ratings since Katie Couric left NBC’s front-running "Today" show and Charles Gibson departed ABC’s "Good Morning America," but not enough to be significantly competitive. Friedman’s most visible move at "The Early Show" was to drop Rene Syler, leaving three anchors where there once was four.

CBS News President Sean McManus has promised significant changes to "The Early Show" to get more competitive. The first step, coming in January, will be to abandon a format that allows stations covering 20 percent of the CBS audience to pre-empt much of the national show for local news in the first hour.

Ross helped make the Gibson and Diane Sawyer-anchored "GMA" more competitive when she worked there from 1999 to 2004. But a tough management style ruffled feathers, and she was shifted to the newsmagazine "Primetime" for a short time before leaving ABC.

CBS News spokeswoman Sandy Genelius would not comment on possible changes.

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