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 April 26, 2023

Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, leaving ABC news amid Disney layoffs

Nate Silver, founder and editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, is leaving ABC News amid deep cuts at Disney, its parent company, the Daily Wire reported. Silver's exit Tuesday is the latest in a string of media shakeups. 

Silver made a name for himself and his data-based media company by accurately predicting the outcomes of presidential races using statistics. He launched the website in 2008 as a blog using data aggregation to accurately predict former President Barack Obama's victory.

The site was named after the 538 presidential electors that comprise the Electoral College. With the gravitas of accurately forecasting the 2008 election, Silver sold the site to ESPN in 2015.

It was later moved over to ABC News, but both networks are under the Disney parent company that has been in an economic downturn lately. "Disney layoffs have substantially impacted FiveThirtyEight," Silver said on Twitter.

"I am sad and disappointed to a degree that’s kind of hard to express right now," he added. Silver's exit means someone else will run the company for the first time in its 15-year history.

"We’ve been at Disney almost 10 years. My contract is up soon and I expect that I’ll be leaving at the end of it," Silver continued.

"I had been worried about an outcome like this and so have had some great initial conversations about opportunities elsewhere," he added. Disney's CEO Bob Iger had announced cutting about 7,000 employees in his "strategic realignment" to cut costs.

They were reportedly set to begin this week and include areas from corporate divisions to its theme parks and media sectors. "For our employees who aren’t impacted, I want to acknowledge that there will no doubt be challenges ahead as we continue building the structures and functions that will enable us to be successful moving forward," Iger said to staff last month.

"In tough moments, we must always do what is required to ensure Disney can continue delivering exceptional entertainment to audiences and guests around the world, now, and long into the future," Iger added. That future may not be as certain as it once was for Disney or any other media company.

Silver's announcement came just a day after Fox News and Tucker Carlson abruptly decided to "part ways." It was also a week after the network failed to keep host Dan Bongino as he could not come to a suitable contract agreement with Fox.

However, Carlson's exit was particularly a shock to viewers and employees alike. The host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight" was a driving force behind Fox's success, including several programs for the subscription streaming service Fox Nation.

Over at CNN, Don Lemon was also let go that same day without explanation. Both Carlson and Lemon have hired Hollywood attorney Bryan Freedman, the New York Times reported.

Freedman is known for securing multi-million dollar wrongful termination settlements for his clients, and their choice of lawyers hints at a possible avenue of pursuit.

The media landscape is rapidly changing. These legacy media companies have behaved like they were too big to fail, but recent shakeups all around prove they're just as vulnerable as any company.

Written By:
Christine Favocci

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