The feud between Deadline.com’s Nikki Finke’s and Variety owner — and Deadline.com owner — Jay Penske is well-known in the entertainment industry. But according to The Wall Street Journal, Finke now wants to buy back control of the Deadline.com website, or start a new one.
“Either move would cause a stir throughout Hollywood, where the name ‘Nikki’ is a brand of its own thanks to Ms. Finke’s trademark mix of scoops, snark and vitriol against those she believes have crossed her,” the story reports. “The fact that the former Associated Press and Newsweek writer hasn’t been photographed or seen in public in decades only adds to her mystique.”
After Penske purchased Variety last year, Deadline founder and editor Finke “became unhappy that he didn’t give her a role at the older and more famous competitor,” the story reports.
WSJ adds: “It is still possible Ms. Finke and Mr. Penske will resolve their differences, but they disagree on the key question of the terms under which Ms. Finke could depart Deadline.com under her employment contract.”
“Ms. Finke had told several people she expected to take charge of Variety when Mr. Penske bought it,” the story says. “They said she was upset to learn she would play no role as Mr. Penske oversaw a number of changes, including ending a five-day-a-week paper, relaunching a weekly edition as a magazine, and eliminating a website paywall. At the same time, Ms. Finke believed Deadline wasn’t receiving adequate resources from Penske Media.”
The report continues: “Ms. Finke said she believes that in order for the publications to coexist as corporate siblings, they need to stop playing on the same turf. ’It is very clear that our specialty is breaking news,’ she said of Deadline. ’I would like to see Variety’s specialty be analysis and commentary.’"
Finke reportedly said that if she can’t regain control of Deadline.com, she might build a new entertainment news website at NikkiFinke.com.