Alarm bells are going off at ABC News.
The Disney-owned newsroom was jolted on Thursday after a report suggested that the outlet could soon be expelled from the Magic Kingdom. Bloomberg's Christopher Palmeri and Thomas Buckley reported that Disney has "held exploratory talks" about selling ABC to Nexstar Media Group. The duo also reported that media mogul Byron Allen has also spoken with Disney about a possible deal.
In conversations with more than half-dozen people inside and around ABC News that I spoke to Thursday evening, it was made clear that a feeling of dread and trepidation is washing over the outlet as they face the unknown.
"Everyone is freaking the f**k out," one ABC News staffer bluntly told me about the state of affairs inside the network.
"It's all anyone at work is talking about," added another.
Indeed, mergers and acquisitions always inspire feelings of anxiousness as staffers wonder what a new corporate parent might mean for them. Will a new parent move to install its own leadership? Cut costs? Make other changes?
With Nexstar already owning NewsNation, the little-watched cable news channel that embraces bothsidesism and was happy to host a town hall with notorious anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. earlier this year, what would that mean for the future of ABC News and its editorial direction? Would Nexstar move to meld the two and supercharge its cable news operation with the more robust resources of ABC News?
Staffers that I spoke to, who acknowledged that a divorce with Disney seemed inevitable after Bob Iger's infamous comments earlier this summer that the television asset "may not be core" to the company, were apprehensive about how quickly a potential sale appeared to be progressing.
The ABC News'ers suggested that they are frustrated that they remain in the dark about the future of their company. Instead of hearing directly from Disney leadership, they're instead reading in the press about what the House of Mouse plans to potentially do with the company.