December 3, 2010 / 4:08 AM / in 7 years

Ousted CBS weatherman: "It's a cruel business"

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Dave Price, the soon-to-be-ousted weatherman on CBS’ “Early Show,” called the network’s decision this week to overhaul the third-place breakfastcast “jolting.”

While Price says he understands that TV news is very much a results-oriented business, he was nevertheless caught off guard when CBS News and Sports president Sean McManus informed him that a new “Early Show” team would be in place by January 3.

”Was I surprised? Yeah. I had just come back from a seven-day trip from Alaska for a week-long sweeps piece,“ he said. ”But I don’t know many people who lose their job who aren’t surprised by it. So I don’t think that’s extraordinary. But yeah, it’s jolting.

“It’s a cruel business,” he added. “But we love it anyway. And so its throws you back a bit, maybe even more than a bit.”

McManus has said that Price and Maggie Rodriguez will be offered new roles at CBS News. Harry Smith will become the permanent fill-in anchor on the CBS Evening News, Face the Nation and Sunday Morning.

They’ll be replaced by Chris Wragge and Erica Hill as co-hosts, Jeff Glor as news reader and Marysol Castro as weather anchor.

Price said he’ll consider proposals from CBS News, but there are no guarantees he’ll stay with the network.

“I‘m going to see if any of (those proposals) are right for me,” he said. “If they’re not, I’ll make a graceful exit.”

If the TV thing doesn’t work out, he said: “I already have other plans. I‘m doing landscaping at (NBC weatherman) Al Roker’s house.”

Price has been at CBS News since 2003, joining the network from WCBS-TV in New York. He’s covered major environmental disasters including the earthquake in Haiti and Hurricane Katrina. He didn’t get into the TV news business until he was nearly 30 years old, after a decade in corporate human resources. He’s dabbled in amateur stand-up comedy and has spent the last several holiday seasons in Iraq or Afghanistan with a comedy troupe entertaining U.S. service personnel there.

Said one CBS News executive: “This is a guy who loves people and it showed. His reporting had a lot of heart.”

“The Early Show” has languished behind NBC’s dominant “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Last season (September 2009-September 2010), it attracted its smallest average audience in nearly 10 years, averaging 2.5 million viewers.

Price added that as a well-paid television anchor, he has a lot less to complain about than many recession-battered Americans. And news of his fate has also produced an outpouring of well wishes from viewers and random strangers.

“I’ve had several free lunches over the last two days and I got a donut from a street vendor for nothing. Now that I‘m leaving the outpouring of kindness is heartwarming. It’s like being at your own Shiva,” he added, referring to the weeklong period of mourning observed in the Jewish religion. “But the only downside is you realize that you’re still dead.”

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