CBS Names Kaplan Executive Producer of Evening News


TV news veteran Rick Kaplan has replaced Rome Hartman as executive producer of the CBS Evening News With Katie Couric, effective immediately.

The former CNN U.S./MSNBC president replaces Hartman as CBS' newscast languishes in third place in the ratings. Hartman has been in the slot since January 2006. He will be reassigned to a senior role at CBS News. CBS News/Sports President Sean McManus announced Kaplan's appointment Thursday.

A respected longtime TV newsman, Kaplan steps in as the Evening News has struggled to find a voice with Katie Couric in the anchor seat. Hartman, a former 60 Minutes producer, changed the newscast to include longer interviews and opinion pieces that haven't gone over well with audiences. 

His appointment also comes on the heels of an executive producer swap at NBC's Nightly News, which earlier this week replaced John Reiss with an NBC News VP, Alex Wallace. 

Kaplan, who has won 34 Emmy Awards, started his more than 35-year career in the industry at the CBS-owned station in Chicago before becoming an associate producer for the CBS Morning News and the Evening News, then with Walter Cronkite.

He later spent 18 years at ABC, including stints as executive producer of Nightline (1985-1989) and World News Tonight WithPeterJennings. He also helped create Primetime Live in 1989 and executive-produced the show through 1994.

“Few broadcast journalists have a list of accomplishments and the history of success that Rick has had – the list is truly extraordinary,” said McManus in a statement. “I’m very much looking forward to working with Rick and having the benefit of his vast experience and knowledge as we continue to build the best evening news broadcast at CBS News.”

“I spent the first 10 years of my career at CBS News, including three years working on the CBS Evening News With Walter Cronkite,” said Kaplan in a statement. “So coming home to that broadcast, especially as executive producer, is particularly thrilling.  Katie is an enormously talented journalist and broadcaster, and this is an extraordinary opportunity for us to grow the broadcast in every way.”

McManus credited Hartman with "stabilizing" the Evening News during Couric's transition into the broadcast and said he will be "playing a very prominent role" going forward at CBS.

Couric called Hartman "one of the finest people with whom I've had the privilege of working."