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CBS boots Maggie Rodriguez from anchor chair

Miami television anchor Maggie Rodriguez's fairy-tale rise through the ranks of network television came Maggie3 to an abrupt end -- or, at the least, a rest stop -- on Tuesday, when CBS dumped her as part of a ruthless makeover of The Early Show, its daybreak newscast.

Rodriguez, co-anchor Harry Smith and weatherman Dave Price were all ousted from the show, which routinely gets clobbered in the Nielsen ratings by NBC's Today Show and ABC's Good Morning America.

"This is no reflection on Harry or Maggie or Dave," CBS News President Sean McManus told the Miami Herald from New York. "They did exactly what we asked them to do. But the ratings suggested that we needed to make a wholesale change."

Rodriguez could not be reached for comment. But McManus said she's in negotiations to stay at CBS in another role -- perhaps on its Sunday Morning newscast or 48 Hours documentary series, both of which she's guest-hosted.

"Maggie's terrific," said McManus, who plucked her from the anchor desk at WFOR-CBS 4 after seeing her newscasts while he was in Miami supervising the network's coverage of the 2007 Super Bowl. "Maggie has a very, very bright future. I'm hoping we can work out something at CBS News that's good for her."

Rodriguez started as a fill-in Early Show anchor but within months had taken over the program's Saturday edition. Soon after, she became weekday co-anchor and occasionally sat in for Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News.

In an interview with the Herald earlier this year she called the fact that McManus had seen her doing an offbeat Super Bowl-week newscast from the Versace Mansion on South Beach ‘‘sheer luck, one in a million." Except for a stint at a Los Angeles station, Rodriguez had spent her life in South Florida before the CBS offer: She graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes Academy in Southwest Miami-Dade and, in 1991, from the University of Miami, then worked as a reporter at Spanish-language WLTV-Univisión 23 before settling in at WFOR in 2000.

Rodriguez is hardly the first CBS anchor laid low by bad ratings on an early-morning newscast. CBS' morning news shows have been Nielsen disasters since the network began airing them in the 1950s. Even Walter Cronkite -- who co-anchored a morning newscast with a hand puppet named Charlemagne -- was a ratings flop.

"We've had problems in the morning for decades, absolutely," McManus agreed. "It's been well documented. We've not been able to succeed in programming from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. The Early Show is profitable. It has a sizable audience, but, in relation to other networks, we're not as competitive as we would like to be."

In recent weeks, the newscast's ratings have declined even from their usual lows. While The Today Show averages about 5.6 million viewers daily and Good Morning America 4.6 million, The Early Show lags far behind with 2.9 million.

The numbers disappointed McManus, who had been expecting The Early Show to steal viewers away from Good Morning America when it switched anchors from Diane Sawyer to George Stephanopoulos late last year.

"I just felt that it was time to do something dramatic and something bold," McManus said. "The quality Maggierid,jpeg of the show had reached a point where it's competitive with what ABC and NBC are doing in terms of booking guests and doing stories, but the growth in ratings just hasn't been there."

Rodriguez and the others will be replaced by Chris Wragge and Erica Hill, anchors of the Saturday version of The Early Show.Jeff Glor, anchor of Saturday's CBS Evening News, will become the newsreader, and Marysol Castro, formerly of Good Morning America's weekend edition, will do the weather.

Comments

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americananarchist

So much for hiring a Hispanic female for the diversity gang...She'll probably sue claiming racism.sexism and whatever else her jawyer can dream up...

Joaquin Gonzalez

What a moronic comment from an ignorant racist individual. Maggie Rodriguez has more grace and value as a human being in her pinkie than this guy that calls himself "americananarchist" will ever aspire to have. Go back to the hole where you crawl from.

gwenneedy@yahoo.com

Whenever I switched from Good Morning America it was to Early Show, now I will not be switching at all. Will miss Ms. Maggie, she is fabulous.

Shakespeare S. Shakespeare

The holiday season is a real good time to be told that you no longer are employed. It does a lot for the psyche! Yeah, right!

william

Chris Wragge ???? Good luck with that one.

Barb

I can not believe that CBS would take off Maggie, Harry and Dave off the air. Who care about the rating. I watch the CBS news because of these three newcaster. They each give from the heart when they are reporting a story. What a holiday present you gave to them. I hope this makes you happy at night. We have enough people in the world without jobs and now you are adding to the bunch. I will not be watching CBS anymore. I hope and pray that they each find a new job outside of CBS new. Maggie, Harry and Dave thank you very much for all the memories you have made with the viewers. We all love you!

Scott

I picked this show to get my morning news soley because Maggie was delivering it. Cbs will be blocked on tv's that I control....What a stupid move! Look out cbs...maybe fox will see her outstanding appeal!

Wilson Matthews

In Mc Manus comments there was mention that Harry and Maggie as well as Dave Price had done what was ask of them from upper management. Well get rid of the idiots that supervised these individuals.

J. Powell

CBS what are you thinking! I switched from the Today show to CBS because of Harry, Maggie and Dave and also Julie! Believe me, this is a mistake and if you think your ratings will soar you are wrong. Harry, Maggie and Dave have such eloquence, professionalism and the perfect mojo that the viewers look forward to every morning. This is sad and I will no longer watch your morning news. You must reconsider.

Debbie Montgomery

Bad mistake. Maggie is a wonderful host. She comes across on TV as a very caring, intelligent individual. How do you think Erica Hill is better??? No way. She is just younger. Looks like age discrimination if you ask me. I think most women can definitely relate to Maggie. It seemed that when Maggie was on maternity leave, that Erica made sure she put in her two cents and probably begged Management for the job while Maggie was away!

joan allen

big mistake cbs should spend a little bit of the money it makes and see what the real people like, targeting younger people is not the answer they are going to work every morning older retired people are still making major disisions as to what to buy and what makes sense in this world

robert smith

the three people that was dismissed on the early show is the only reason why wife and i watched it. so good luck early show we are moving on too.

Tricia Mann

Unbelievable!!! Do you realize how bad the network looks after getting rid of Maggie right after she returned from maternity leave? Really classy CBS! I absolutely loved the relationship between Harry, Dave and Maggie. Why do you think CBS had the fan base they had? Harry Smith is someone the average person could relate too. He was down to earth and never a phony. Dave Price seemed like the brother you always wanted to have and was willing to do anything for the show! He made me laugh so many mornings. Maggie has class and never compromised who she was for popularity. CBS has made a HUGE mistake! Why would viewers ever be loyal to CBS again after all of these years? It's obvious they have no loyalty to their employees or viewers? We will miss you forever Harry, Dave and Maggie and watching CBS ever again for our morning show. You deserved so much better! I wish you the very best and hope another network has the intelligence to realize what CBS has given up.

Dan Hetherington

CBS,I loved how you gave Julie a new show then hacked off all her fellow news members. Poor Dave Price,just got married,went to Alaska,what happened he get to many coats for CBS closet. Harry Smith, I love the guy,he's cool. Maggie,well she's Maggie and people like that. Younger people aren't watching tv,to busy with twitter and face book.Older retires are the ones who are watching,CBS, YOU SCREWED UP!

Max

I Will miss seeing Maggie from now on i will change over to good morning America on channel 13 channel 11 you drop the ball. Max G HOUSTON TX.

Charlie

They tried this once before when the took Harry and Paula off.....how long did that last before they brought Harry back????

Pam Schroeder

We will be changing networks for sure...what a bone head move. Maybe the public don't care about who is first or third. We like what we like and sometimes that is not always number one. Why do a few egotistily CEO etc. have the final say as to what we get to watch.

Thanks to Harry, Maggie and Dave for sharing your mornings with us and you will be missed. Please keep your heads held high as this is just a bump in the road. Hope each of you will be able to continue with your careers as you would like and enjoy your families first though.

Pam in Nebraska

Allene

I really like Harry, Maggie and Dave. They just seemed to click with each other. But this won't be the first network, in my opinion to make a bad decision. I remember a weekend team on NBC that were replaced. They were great and I actually stopped watching NBC News when that happened. I've never watched that network for news again. I'm going to try to be more open minded about this particular change. But if they don't have the magnatism that Harry, Maggie & Dave had I'll be changing to. Maybe the network should look at changing the higher ups. Maybe they are the problem instead of the hosts of the show!

Al

I switched from NBC & ABC when Maggie R. came on with her profesionalism. I will now have to switch back to one or the other. Too bad for CBS>

Rick Ayers

CBS......I understand, that the TV News business is all about ratings. That's what the entire industry is about. However, having said that, I think that your decision to break-up this morning news team, may come-back to bite you all, in the butt. But then, this would not be the first time, you all have had your drawers ripped-off your behinds, before.

I used to watch the TODAY show, before. But, I grew to become bored with them. I have never been a fan of ABC's Good Morning America. It depresses me, their presentation.

I did like the chemistry of the Early Show staff.
Although, it did seem that Maggie Rodriguez, may have let a little bit of her personal politics inflect on how she spoke to, and about the President, and the Democrats. As I understand it, she is a Republican. However, to be fair, I have seen her tear into some Republican leaders, as well.

In conlusion, I know that networks are always trying to win the ratings game. But, sometimes being different (catering to those viewers that you do have), just may bring you the prize that you seek. Don't be scurrrrred. Give it a try!

fred holyfield

we know ratings are drivers,however losing a whole viewing demographic is something I would expect from nbc primetime......beware of this change .sorry you believe Wragge is a rising star,strong morning following (we spend money...baby boomers ..) I am leaving the cbs morning family.how do you think you became the primetime leader?

MHNN

What were you Early Show CEOs thinking??? You certainly were not worried about or in tune with your viewers, who soooooo related to Maggie!!!

Bring Maggie back!!!!

Good-bye & oo-long,we've switched channels too!

Jean-Paul Murray

Replacing the solid Harry Smith with the giggling cheerleader Chris Wragge is a desperate and ridiculous move.

Harry has gravitas, Chris is a hairdo...

CBS, chasing shadows instead of the prey.

ellen

I am saddened by the poor decision CBS has made to revamp the early morning crew. Maggie,Harry and Dave have such great chemistry! CBS has made a huge mistake, I will not be watching any more. I miss Maggie with her bright smiling face and wholesome attitude, will miss Harry and Dave too.
What a mistake CBS is making.

Phyllis

This whole situation makes me sick. Harry Smith is awesome. He's the whole package -- serious journalist with lots of personality. Chris Wragge is silly and goofy, and I don't care for him at all. I really like Erica Hill so she's fine. But Dave Price? What on earth did he do wrong? He's not only funny and charming, he's a great reporter, too. I hope you find something wonderful for him to do, because you are really treating him horribly. As for Maggie, she hasn't been on the show in over a week. I don't blame her. If you don't want her, there's no need for her to hang around. And to say once more: Chris Wragge? Just nooooooo!!!

darrell

Well Id be changing stations, they made a big mistake, ratings really going down now.

Joanne Thome

This is the trouble with all the CEO's and politicans in America they seem to thing they know what the average person wants and needs. Well they should get a life and join the real world. We will NOT BE WATCHING CBS AFTER HARRY AND DAVE are no longer on the show,it only to bad that MAGGIE has already left without any warning. Now your ratings will really go down. As for your new host Eric Hill and Chris Wragge where on God's GREEN EARTH DID YOU EVER DRAG THEM OUT OF. Good bye CBS.

Morgan  Crowley

Us Missourians had lost Ron Smith on Krcg TV because of budget cut. The sponcers started to drop till they bring him back which they did. Why dont they do the same to bring back Harry, Maggie and Dave. We need to do somthing. We should stand up and not let ratings rule us. We get that from our government. Take a stand people.

Rufus

Harry Smith has that Walter Cronkite news man quality that's so hard to find. He's so believable.

While Chris Wragge is like a silly puppy vying for attention, Harry is like the rock solid family man, who will take charge in any crisis.

Like an all-American Mr. Nice Guy quiet hero.

Maggie from Philadelphia

CBS is a fool to drop such a professional team to put young fast speaking people. My entire family will no longer watch the Early Show. Maggie, Harry & Dave made that show. CBS CEOs, how dare you make such a decision for us. So you really think this will bring in a younger crowd or raise you ratings...HAHAHAHA! Now I hope a station hires Maggie, Harry & Dave so I can switch. CBS, you messed up my mornings. Maggie, Harry and Dave, good luck to you. You guys are AMAZING. You will truly be missed. Take Care & God bless. BYE CBS

Jeffery Northern

CBS Ratings VS. Viewer's has to be the bigest bonehead move in 2010 by Mc Manus. He needs to call himself Mr. Anus for firing a good hard working cast. Mr. Anus when your lacking in the rating it's easy to blame news cast for your problem's, but it's your fault for the ratings since you have final say as to what they are reporting on eachday. Maybe you need to bring that good cast back and instead fire yourself from your position? I think many viewer's like myself that enjoyed watching this cast every morning would love to see you step down in 2011.

Nancy Vatter

CBS - YOU ARE MORONS for firing Harry, Maggie and Dave!!! Don't need to say anything else!

Nancy Vatter


OK - so I have another comment. Like everything else in our world, it's all about MONEY. That's why these good folks got fired. People don't matter anymore; just the money. Look at the NFL; it's the same scenario - money, money, money. Sean McManus - I hope you get fired in 2011. Take the heat - you created it!!!

Read more: http://miamiherald.typepad.com/changing_channels/2010/12/why-doesnt-cbs-just-cancel-the-early-show.html#ixzz19Shf25De

Nancy Vatter

Me, again. McManus: Look at all the stupid, idiotic escapades you sent Dave Price on. Don't do them anymore; it's a bad idea.

Tired of the Enthusiastic Cheerleaders

I'll miss Harry Smith and Maggy Rodriguez. This was the only morning show left worth watching!

Sandra G

I don't know who made the decision to change the morning show team but I truely believe this is a BIG mistake! Erica was not my favorite on the morning show but Harry, Maggie and Dave definitely are at the top of my list. I've seen Chris on other programs and tend to switch channels when he is hosting. CBS is my channel of choice but I will be making a change.

Kris mcKeon

Maybe we should boycott the "new" Early Show. Chris and Erica have no personality. Chris giggles too much and Erica is like a cold fish. They lack the charm, honesty, and respect that Ms. Maggie, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Price has earned for ALL their YEARS of hard work. What a great loss to WCBS. What were you guys thinking? Maybe the reason for your LOW ratings is because YOU keep changing EVERYONE around!!!!!!!! I like to turn on the television once in a while WITHOUT seeing someone new!!!!!!!!!! One last think for CBS, there are more baby boomers than there are young folks watching morning shows, they are too busy, tweeting, face booking, ipoding, downloading, websurfing...etc need I say more.

Vikki

I will miss the CBS Early Morning Show no need to watch without Harry and Maggie and the whole team. I never watch on the weekend because of Chris he is so fake acts like a cold fish that is worried about his hair. Big mistake by the management of CBS if there were problems with ratings maybe u should look at who decides on the shows content. Harry came to our area during the big flood and was so wonderful can't see Chris getting on a Jon boat and going for a ride in flood waters. Not a fan of NBC because of Merideth so not sure what I will watch if anything. Bad move with your new team CBS.

Judith ellis

Thi decision is a mistake. I predict ratings will drop.

D Grimes

Harry, Maggie and Dave are three exceptional individuals that made an outstanding news team. The three of them "out classed" the other network teams and maybe that is the answer to the ratings. The classy people (fewer people in this population) chose to watch CBS while the rest of the viewers watched elsewhere. I will certainly miss my Early Show family and I wish them all the best. Good always rules over evil and good things will certainly be provided for them. For the management team that made the decision to incorporate this change, I wish you luck and that is all that needs to be said.

Ben Layton

Well for one I'm more than happy to see her go!!!! I had just sent an email to CBS stating she had to go!!! From the first time I heard her call herself a celebrity I had no more use for her. She was interviewing someone who read peoples personalities by their facial structure and Maggie had the nerve to ask him what other celebrity "other than herself" had the same facial structure that she had??? And then her being so full of herself out on the plaza, it was sickening. Her FAKE smile is enough to turn the station by itself, which I found myself doing quite often!!!!

Janice Jones

CBS is making a huge mistake by getting rid of Harry, Dave and Maggie, they were the reason we watched every day. We are no longer viewers. We will go back to watching Matt and Meredith on the Today show.

Diana

You have got to be kidding if you got rid of all"3" of the best !!! Maggie, Harry and Dave. They made the show. We loved seeing all of them and followed Dave as he made his way from Alaska back to New York. Ratings could NOT have been that bad with those 3 Great people on the show. I hope you are not sorry but we will never hear you say it!!! We love all three of you and will miss you and hope to see you somewhere soon.

Cynthia

CBS this is a sad mistake. I left ABC to watch Harry, Dave and Maggie. You will regret this move. Replacing a top notch team with a bunch of young folk inexperienced just doesn't make sense.

Rob Ross

ThAnk you CBS!!! Maggie was good originally but then she started to be a typical cable news network democrat "journalist" who spewed anti republican no matter the subject. I grew tired of her biased approach in using her role to spew her personal views. Also as soon as she started to hide the cleavage the viewers dropped dramatically. Face it, a little sexy sizzle attracts viewers - aka Natalie Morales, in a very professional way. Advice to Maggie: become a journalist again and then use your assets to get you that little extra that you need.

George chimento

Best rack on tv. Sad to see those fun bags off the air. I think CBS simply wanted to "flatten" the team by going away from Maggie and to Hill.....

stan kay

will miss harry and maggie, had time to watch most of the show before work in the am.How their going to replace 2 classy people like that with all those unknowns is beyond me.Guess I'll be watching good morning america.

Ann Jones

Just turned on the early show this morning and was very disappointed to see three boring people trying to get my attention. WHY?, would you ever take maggie, harry and dave off? This was a very destructive move to your show. I switched from Good Morning America to the early show because of the warmth these three gave to your program. I actually feel sad this morning and will again watch Good Morning America because my friends are gone.

Kelly Thomas

I could care less about Maggie Rodriguez but I will miss Harry and Dave. Harry has been the mainstay for The Early Show and Dave was just hilarious. The new group is good but it's sad to know that Harry and Dave won't be there when I wake up in the a.m.

Cheri

CBS execs = CBS idiots

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