A posse of Nine's highest paid stars, including Karl Stefanovic, 46, Richard Wilkins, 66, and Georgie Gardner, could be shown the door following the shock resignation of the network's CEO Hugh Marks after an office affair went public earlier this month.
In the top job for five years, Hugh reportedly went out of his way to protect his network "pets".
Now rumours abound that the select few – who have been dubbed the "untouchables" and include The Block's Scotty Cam, 57, and 60 Minutes veteran reporters Tara Brown, 52, and Liz Hayes, 64, – could face huge pay cuts and drastic contract changes, or risk losing their jobs.
"There's a few people right now sh-ting themselves walking the corridors at Nine knowing their entrusted leader is gone," an industry insider tells Woman's Day.
"As long as Hugh was around they had six-figure pay cheques, generous bonuses and plenty of kickbacks, but all that could come to a screaming halt once his replacement is announced."
Choosing love with former colleague Alexi Baker, 38, over a $5 million-a-year salary, the 54-year-old's shock resignation came just days after he reportedly secured a $2 million personal bonus payment.
"It's a game changer – especially for Karl, who is joined at the hip with Hugh – they're incredibly close.
"Karl knows it was Hugh who was in charge when he went back on the Today desk, and who was in his corner during his 'garden leave' two years ago," our source explains.
Adds another Nine insider, "Dickie [Richard Wilkins] was saved – just – by Hugh after he was demoted and given a lifeline with the weekend program. Dickie, and other stars like him who are getting the big bucks, are genuinely worried.
"Everyone is expecting to see a huge shake-up internally that will see salaries decrease, and expectations and workloads increase."
Former neighbour to Hugh and longtime friend, veteran newsreader Georgie, 50, is also said to be worried about her lucrative package, which is rumoured to be a staggering $1 million a year.
"It's inevitable – there's too much young talent in the building and Deb [Knight], who earns half that, is never too far away. Similarly, Scotty Cam would be wondering about his future – and that of The Block. There's a real shift at Nine across all platforms to get rid of the old guard and bring in the new," the source reveals.
"Hugh has propped up 60 Minutes for years but it can no longer sustain itself. He has protected the likes of Liz and Tara but there is no justifying the huge salaries, especially now they've slashed their travel budgets.
"It remains to be seen what happens next, but one thing is certain – Nine is in for one heck of a shake-up, so get ready for the fallout!"
While tensions are running high, a select few of Nine's on-air talent remain confident that their jobs are secure.
According to our Nine insider, the likes of veteran A Current Affair host Tracy Grimshaw, 60, newsreader Peter Overton, 54, and Today entertainment reporter Brooke Boney, 33, don't have to worry about their futures at the network.
"Trace is a winner for the network and is trusted by the viewers, as is Peter. Brooke has worked hard to be accepted, and her popularity continues to soar – and the big bosses love her!" the source reveals.
"Deb Knight has nothing to worry about – she's one of the hardest working in the business. Nor does Hamish Blake, who hosts Lego Masters. He's on huge money, but Nine see him as a long-term investment and they can't afford to lose him.
"Sophie Monk is safe and is set to host Beauty And The Geek and Love Island next year, while sports presenter Erin Molan has proven herself as one of the best in the business and has overcome lots of challenges.
"It's a much nicer club to be in – the safe ones who have no need to worry. Fair to say, it's better than being in the other team!"