Silver told FiveThirtyEight employees in a Slack message that he expects to leave Disney when his contract is up, which he added would be “soon,” The Hollywood Reporter has learned.
ABC News is expected to keep the FiveThirtyEight brand name, with plans to streamline the site and make it more efficient.
“ABC News remains dedicated to data journalism with a core focus on politics, the economy and enterprise reporting — this streamlined structure will allow us to be more closely aligned with our priorities for the 2024 election and beyond,” an ABC News spokesperson said in a statement. “We are grateful for the invaluable contributions of the team members who will be departing the organization and know they will continue to make an important impact on the future of journalism.”
In his Slack message, Silver wrote that “unfortunately the day we’ve been worried about has arrived.
“We don’t yet know the scope of these layoffs, exactly who is impacted, or the terms under which they are departing, but it is going to be a hard day for all of us,” he added.
Silver founded FiveThirtyEight in 2008, eventually bringing it to The New York Times. Silver would go on to sell the site to Disney’s ESPN; it later was moved to the ABC News division. His departure will be the first time that Silver has not been involved in the site since it launched 15 years ago.
ABC News, meanwhile, is once again grappling with layoffs after a slew of senior executives were cut last month. The cuts are part of a larger cost-cutting effort at Disney, with the company seeking to slash a total of 7,000 jobs. By the end of this week the company expects to have shed about 4,000 positions.
After news broke of Silver’s exit, the pundit added on Twitter of his ABC News tenure and layoffs: “I had been worried about an outcome like this and so have had some great initial conversations about opportunities elsewhere. Don’t hesitate to get in touch. I am so proud of the work of FiveThirtyEight staff. It has never been easy. I’m so sorry to the people impacted by this.”