Is Disney Selling ABC to Nexstar?

A Bloomberg report suggesting that Disney may sell ABC to Nexstar has rattled ABC News. Current ABC News programs include ABC World News Tonight (pictured), Good Morning America, and The View.

According to a Bloomberg article by Christopher Palmeri and Thomas Buckley, the Walt Disney Company held “exploratory talks” about selling the ABC network and TV stations to Nexstar Media Group. In a statement, Disney said it made “no decision with respect to the divestiture of ABC or any other property.” In an emailed statement, DirecTV Content Chief Officer Rob Thun said, “As Nexstar is already the largest owner and operator of local broadcast stations, we do not see how it can lawfully purchase the full suite of ABC stations given they are already at the national ownership cap.”

CNN Reports a “Feeling of Dread” at ABC News

Mullen on The View e1694801886367
Image Credit: Wiki Commons, By U.S. Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley, Public Domain.

CNN reporter Oliver Darcy spoke with several people at ABC News after the Bloomberg article went online. “Everyone is freaking the f–k out,” said one staffer to Darcy. Another added, “It’s all anyone at work is talking about.”

Darcy says, “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.”

Just two months ago, Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger said, “I’m ridiculously passionate about news. It’s important to this company. We need to figure out how it makes the transition into streaming. And I happen to believe we will endure. It’s too good, it’s too important, and it’s really fun.”

Yesterday, Disney issued a statement saying there is no deal “at this time,” but that the company is “open to considering a variety of strategic options for our linear businesses.” That last bit concerns ABC News staffers.

An unnamed television executive told Darcy, “Once, [ABC News was] Iger’s jewel in the crown. Their $20 million+ anchors were trotted out for board meetings and glitzy dinners in NYC. Now, they’re on the chopping block. Iger is unsentimental and cold-blooded. He will do what is best and necessary for Disney. He will not hesitate to cut off well-paid anchor friends, cast out beloved networks, or sell the jewels in the crown.”