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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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Jacqueline Gill

Harry Smith is a class act but started to seem a little bored with his job. Dave Price is funny and doeas a great job with the weather. He kept it interesting. This next item will not be a popular comment but I'm sorry to say it's true: Maggie had to go. I was at first astounded then irritated then angry at the way she spouted her personal, liberal , democratic antirepublican attitude every single day before the last election. My colleagues and I used to watch just to see how many jabs she made every day. Don't worry-- she is cute and will be back, somewhere, soon.....

PA Ireland

I will miss the three.....they were a breath of fresh air each morning. and so natural. I just loved Maggi....the best to all of them...

Dana Dotzenrod

I hope CBS regrets this move! My husband and I have switched to GMA. Maggie was a bridge to the future. Her bilingualism allowed her to do her own interpreting. We need to address cultural diversity.Maggie did this with grace. Harry is a victim of age-discrimination.....CBS has forgoten that Baby-boomers are the largest demographic base today! So much for your ratings. We don't want to watch the glitzy brat-pack you've stuck in now. They don't have the life experience to give them credibility and have not earned their over-paid positions. Dave Price is a brilliant comic. His sharp wit can not be matched and has proven that he is loved across the country.

charlotte

What the hell is wrong with you people!! ???Maggie, Harry and Dave made the morning show! I definitely will not be watching CBS anymore you really think your ratings will go up without them? Good luck with that! Those 3 were the show!! You made a Huge mistake! I will definitely be looking for wherever maggie, Dave or Harry have gone...I think CBS needs a to replace the CEO! !!!

runtness

I am so sorry to see the team of Maggie, Harry, and Dave leave the show... I enjoyed the 3 of them so much each morning.... Very professional !!! I also will be moving on to another network, because the new people are BORING !!!!!

wingyding

We all know why Julie Chen is safe. CBS is making themselves look like idiots and are in desperation mode.

Ginger Simmons

Oh no, I've always enjoyed Harry Smith in whatever he did on tv. He is a true down to earth, guy next door, gentleman. You won' t find a more professional reporter anywhere and I will certainly miss that in the morning. I'm looking forward to seeing him in ANY venue on ANY station. CBS, I hope you're paying attention. Best wishes always to Harry Smith.

carolyn & roger

We retired this past year and looked so forward to Maggie, Harry and Dave greeting us every morning. What a SUPER team! We are extremely disappointed with CBS now so we will NOT be tuning in. You lost our attention with your your new team! Your management is certainly lacking in judgment not to realize what you had with the personalities of Maggie, Harry, and Dave providing a superb morning show. Boo!

Helen Hyder-Barnes

I used to channel hop but always ended up watching the Early Show. I will now watch Good Morning America. I understand the need to increase ratings; however, I don't think your replacements are very good choices......too green, plastic, no charisma.

Jeffery Northern

YO MEATBALL, It really look's like you made a bad move by firing a classy team that alot of american's seemed to like watching and replaced them with a bunch of loser's that you expect us to enjoy watching broadcast are morning news. Sorry, to say it's not working for CBS, because after giving them a try it look's like they don't know which camera is actually broadcasting they're veiw's to the public. It's not to late to change thing back for the better, before you lose all your veiwer's. I myself just watch the local news and skip the national news because if I wanted to see clown's I would go to the circus.

Judi Quinones

Big Big mistake....Losing Maggie, Harry and Dave was by far a very dumb move....They are the morning team and I am not interested in the younger one at all.....No need to get up early to watch the Early Show anymore....I have been a fan of Maggie's since she was anchor for the cbs4 news in South Florida....And Harry well Harry is the best and Dave and his anticis will be missed. Not to worry I will not be watching another channel I just won't watch anything till later on... Good Luck Harry, Maggie, Dave and the rest of the old team. Hope to see you back where you belong!

Leighton Bliss

Time to switch programs . I have watched for two days and thats enough for me . The old team was much better than the giggly one you now have.

Deb

Good luck, Harry, Maggie and Dave. You will be truly missed. As far as morning news, I will just pass, as the other channels are no better than your new cast. They all bore me to tears. You got rid pof the best group ever. I hope they, Harry, Maggie and Dave find something better than CBS...

Laurie

I'm sure the new staff will do a good job. Guess we must give them a fair chance. But, I feel like I've lost some very good friends. My heart is sad for the loss....goodbye and good luck Maggie, Harry and Dave :(

Ms. Lowe

I believe CBS just put the final nail in the coffin of their morning show! The three main reasons I watched CBS instead of their competitors was directly related to Harry, Maggie, and Dave. Harry, Maggie, and Dave delivered a combined punch of professionalism, class, humor, and honesty to whatever they reported to CBS’s audience. I have switched channels.

Jackie

A new idea does not mean a good idea. You should go and plead with Harry Smith and Dave Price (who is priceless) to come back and really give us the news. The ratings can be alligned with where the TV markets are. I watch CBS because I live where that is the local news. However, if I would have moved, I would have watched Harry Smith drool in a cup and called that better news than what you see on other early morning shows. Give us the NEWS not cooking shows. Harry can do it and Dave is the best.

Darwin Golz

A super mistake--Maggie, Harry and Dave were a joy to watch every morning. We, also, quit watching CBS in the morning. This action left a void in our house. Apparently, upper management needs pointers on how to evaluate program success and viewer satisfaction. CBS has failed many people by this action. Good luck as your ratings
decline even more. There's an old saying, "Don't
re-invent the wheel when it's rolling smoothly."

m

CBS has screwed up once again! The Early Show will not be same without Harry, Maggie and the adorable Dave. I am very sad about this change. Gosh even Oprah gets more attention for leaving.

Barbara

I am sorry but the show is not the same without Maggie, Harry or Dave. Will move on to another channel although I have to admit channel 2 is my favorite channel.
Very sad to read this, I am more than a week late but with my hectic schedule this was the first change that I had the chance to GOOGLE "Where is Maggie Rodriguez from the Early Show"

Karen H.

I am so saddened and disappointed with the departure of Harry, Maggie and Dave. They were the only reason I watched CBS news in the morning! I, like many other FORMER viewers, will be looking elsewhere for their early morning hookup. I hope Harry, Maggie and Dave know that there are a lot of people who are going to miss seeing them in the morning, including myself! I wish them the best and the best is yet to come! Best believe that!

Newswatcher

Did you notice the CBS management never responds to any of these comments? Perhaps they cannot read. More likely they do not care.
One would think their knee-jerk decisions would cause their foot to kick their ass. Also, Today Show spends less time advertising per hour than the other news shows. CBS spends the most. My remote mute button gets worn out on CBS.

Randy LaFirst

I'm glad to see at least a couple of comments about not missing Maggie. I think Harry and Dave were awesome, but Maggies obvious disdain for any right thinking politician or commentator was disgraceful. My guess is that Harry is probably a liberal minded journalist but did a wonderful job of remaining objective. Any registered republican should be very happy that she's gone.

Joyce

CBS is such a disapointment. I thought you had more class than that. I looked forward every morning to watching Maggie, Harry and Dave. Now I get up and turn the channel to NBC. Maybe someone needs to clean house in the main office's. New boss bad choice. You should listen to the people. Thank you Maggie, Harry and Dave for the wonderful mornings you gave to us. Now lots of people are so sad. Hope the big guys upstairs are having a bad bad day. The economy is so bad and people are having such a hard time coping. The one good thing that put a smile on people's faces were their family in the morning at home and their CBS family Maggie, Harry and Dave. And you took that away. Hope you can cope with the ratings.............

Tom Young

I too am very disapointed with the move CBS made. I really enjoyed Maggie, Harry, and Dave. They made for a very entertaining show. I am finding myself checking other news shows in the morning. Just not the same anymore. CBS, I think you screwed up big time. Tom Young

Carolyn

I can't believe CBS, ratings usually comes from your shows content, maybe if you added some interesting true stories for your talented team to deliver your ratings would go up, looks to me like management is pointing the finger, you need to go and put a more talented younger management in to get stories for talented people like Harry, Maggie and Dave to deliver to us! Since you let them go, I've been watching the the other 2 competitor shows, now that I switched I see why they were leading, it's not cause of their newscast, it's their true heartwarming stories, so put back Harry and the team back on the air and management turn in your resignations, might as well cancel the show if you don't, I can't even watch your new team, the guy gives me the willies!

Sheila Hudson

I am very unhappy that Harry, Maggie, and Dave are not on the CBS Early Show anymore. They each had their own qualities. I woke up every morning and watched them on the news. It's just not the same anymore without them. I have switched to another station to watch the morning news. I feel you did the wrong thing for you ratings.

Linaka

CBS is just aching to lose all of their viewers with their idiotic moves. I watched CBS Early Show because of Harry, Maggie and Dave. So has millions of others. They also killed Guiding Light and As The World Turns for no good reason. So, now they have made many people unhappy, many are unemployed, and they lost excellent anchors and actors...all for what? When no one watches CBS any longer, they still won't get it because you actually need brains and and an IQ in order to get it!!!!!

Ron Connelly

I think CBS has made a major mistake by firing Harry, Maggie and Dave. I will be switching over to ABC. Maybe the person who made that call should find himself without a job. I think Harry,
Maggie and Dave did a great job. This was my favorite morning show.
I guess I too will have to make a change.

Paul

Maybe Harry, Maggie, and Dave will be hired by Fox network. I truly miss all of them.

maxine

i will stop watching i thought they were great i stopped abc, nbc, to pro obama, now i guesswill stay with fox

John Devine

What a bonehead move this was. Harry and Maggy were a delight to watch every morning. Dave Price brought humor to the show and the three of them together seemed to have a special chemistry.

Yvonne Revell

I am appalled to see Maggie Dave and Harry Replaced by such phony, fake looking people. Greased Hair, Pale white Skin. Biggg tall big footed Eric. I could tell she didnt like maggie at all. Good-bye CBS

Charm

The show is no good without Harry and Dave. Please bring them back. Maggie was too biased politically, she can stay.

Gail

Couldn't figure out what happened to Maggie and Harry. Every time I turned on the Early Show all I saw was Chris and yukky Erica. I stopped watching CBS on Saturday morning because I can't stand Erica's voice!!! She talks like she's trying to get a whole day's words in in 1 minute. I agree with your other commenters who said it's the baby boomers who watch the morning shows. Believe me, they are not looking for fast talkers. I had started watching more of GMA because of the programming on The Early Show but still shared time with Early Show. Every time I tuned in I saw Erica and no Harry or Maggie so I started tuning in to Today instead. Now that I know what happened to them I won't be tuning in to The Early Show at all. Goodbye!!

marie benkovic

I am so sad to see that morning crew leave us. They each had a personality that made my start to a new day uplifting. Dave Price was so funny at times I just adored him. As for Harry Smith, he was like a teddy bear you just wanted to cuddle with each day. I wish them well and sad to see them have to move onto to maybe bigger and better things for their sake. Good luck Maggie.
Posted by: Mariebe February 3, 3011

Carolyn Synan

I've watched your "new" show over a month now and I can say I've had enough! The new team is like watching any humdrum daytime talk show. And, if I want to watch someone cook, or learn how to cook, I'll watch the Food Network!

I'm switching the channel in the morning!

gloria

cheri, above, has it right. why do you keep booting the people instead of the content. i hate the other morning shows because so much of the content seems unimportant. even though all the networks do pretty much the same take on press releases, on cbs harry, maggie, and dave were professional, believable, relateable and that made up for so much of the irrelevant content. i very much like george stephanopolous and matt lauer, but i don't care for the content of their shows so i won't watch them. now i won't be watching cbs either. i think that your new team is boring and, with your lack of content, there's no longer any reason to watch.

Char Noble

We have switched to Good Morning America but really miss Harry, Dave and Maggie. Can't stand Chris Wragge. Erica is OK, but the show just isn't the same. Good bye CBS.

Tracy

Really bad move. I was waiting for Maggie to come back from maternity leave. The three of them were the reason I watched the Early Show, not any more. The Early Show will be off the air soon enough, stupidity can only get you so far.

Shirlene meares

I miss Maggie, Harry, and Dave, They were the best. Youneed to bring them back.

TOM CORNELL

Sorry to comment at this late date but I was trying to adjust to the new "group". It ain't gonna happen. good bye morning show! please tell me who will be clever enough to pick up this threesome and I will gladly tune in. we miss Maggie,Harry,and Dave. They made morning coffee taste better. It was like having good friends wake up in your house.IS ANYBODY AT CBS LISTENING OUT THERE?

heidi h

I LOVED the class, warmth & sincerity that Maggie, Harry & Dave exuded. I never cared about news show before, until them. I HATE the new line-up; not a degree of warmth do I pick up from them. REALLY? This was your idea of an improvement?

Sharon

Always like Chris Wraggge and Erica Hill, BUT LOVED Harry, Maggie and Dave. I watched only for them and do not watch any longer. Boooooo!

Jeanette in Nebraska

I sent an email to cbs a long time ago wanting to know what happened to Harry, Maggie and Dave...did not receive a reply. Just found out that they were fired. Big mistake CBS. I always enjoyed viewing The Early Show. Never knew what Harry, Dave or Maggie would do next. Harry and Dave could both be hilarious but were both very professional. Harry, Maggie and Dave made a great team. Miss you all. I have watched The Early Show since, but I don't enjoy watching the new people. Now that I know what happened to Harry, Dave and Maggie, I will not be watching The Early Show starting tomorrow morning.

C. J. L.

I have tried to watch the "new" Early Show but keep loosing interest and surfing the channels. I miss Harry Smith most of all, but Maggie and Dave really added to the mix. What a team they were. My husband went to Good Morning America immediately after the change and although I kept tuning in and hoping the Early Show appeal would be there, I am moving on as well. Good Luck to Harry, Dave, and Miss Maggie.........I know I will see you again.

Theresa B.

The reason why I watched the Early show because of Maggie Rodriguez and Harry Smith. They are both great and shows real professionalism with their work.

I don't even watch the early show now and switched to NBC. Hope to see Maggie again in the near future!

Bryan Madison

the new early crew sucks turning my tv to GMA
thanks alot CBS!!

Larry

I love Maggie. She may be a liberal, but she is one fine lookin one. Seein her gorgeous face and body made getting up in the morning less of a chore. Screw you CBS.

Cindy

I immediately switched to NBC. The three who are gone were the reason everyone watched. I love Harry and Maggie - and Dave was such a great side kick for the seriousness of the news. I'd like to know where they are - I'd watch that station! Bad choice CBS. Oh - and Julie gets a show? Guess that has nothing to do with who she's married to....

Martin Nelson

I miss Maggie, Harry, and Dave. I don't know what you guys were thinking, but I do not like the show now as much as I did.
Marty

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