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ABC Refutes Report That Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight Is on the ‘Chopping Block’

The Daily Beast reports that the politics, economics and sports analysis website could be sold by the summer

Nate Silver’s politics, economics, and sports analysis website FiveThirtyEight is at risk of being offloaded by ABC, according to a new report from the Daily Beast’s Confider newsletter.

“The oft-combative Silver, who has come under renewed scrutiny for his site’s polling selections, now faces an uncertain future as news division boss Kim Godwin reviews the publication, which has never turned a profit,” Daily Beast editor at large Lachlan Cartwright wrote Monday.

The outlet noted that FiveThirtyEight has not backfilled key positions, including its managing editor, politics editor and sports editor. Insiders also reportedly told The Daily Beast that ABC’s lack of enthusiasm towards building a subscription business around FiveThirtyEight has been a “missed opportunity.”

Multiple sources with knowledge of the situation told the Daily Beast that a decision on FiveThirtyEight’s fate will be made by the summer when Silver’s contract is up.

According to the report, this is not the first time that a sale of FiveThirtyEight has been discussed. Sources familiar with the situation told the Daily Beast that Silver held sale talks with both The Atlantic and The Athletic in 2017.

A spokesperson for ABC News told TheWrap that there are “no imminent decisions about our relationship with FiveThirtyEight.” Representatives for Silver and FiveThirtyEight did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

The report on FiveThirtyEight comes as various media outlets have cut staff in the past month, including Vox Media, NBC News, and Fandom-owned video game websites GameSpot and and Giant Bomb.

Additionally, the Washington Post Guild tweeted that the newspaper is bracing for a “single-digit decrease” of its workforce in the first quarter of 2023, citing comments from CEO Fred Ryan during a town hall in December. The Washington Post has already axed 10 staffers from its print Sunday magazine.

Other companies that were hit in December’s media layoff bloodbath include CNN, Gannett, and BuzzFeed.