“Nikki Finke has been fired from the blog she founded, Deadline Hollywood, and will be leaving the company as soon as this week, multiple individuals with knowledge of the situation have told The Wrap, in an article that’s also linked by the Internet Movie Database tonight:
The scourge of Hollywood media has clashed repeatedly with her boss, who apparently has had enough.
Jay Penske, the CEO of Penske Media, which bought Deadline in 2009, told several top Hollywood executives last week that he was firing Finke, complaining she had crossed the line one too many times in sending poison-pen emails berating sources over scoops she lost to competitors.
“She’s been sending emails saying, ‘I’m going to f— you,’ and Jay says he’s had it,” said one top executive.
UPDATE: Penske emailed TheWrap to say: “Sharon, your story isn’t true and all of the “facts” that you mention are completely erroneous.”
When asked if Finke was in fact leaving Deadline, he did not respond.
Finke did not return an email or call seeking comment.
One individual said Finke has been telling executives in Hollywood that she is leaving.
The other issue that brought things to a head is a new contract. Finke’s five-year contract is up next year, and the two have not come to an agreement.
The prospect of a defanged Deadline Hollywood without its Viper-in-Chief is an interesting one. Finke has both terrorized and riveted Hollywood by shredding the reputations of executives she dislikes and heaping praise on those she does.
But recently her writing has tended to be limited to analyzing box office on the weekends. The blog has come to resemble a less-spicy trade, with industry casting scoops by Mike Fleming and Nellie Andreeva dominating the coverage.
Deadline Hollywood’s Mike Fleming strongly denies the story:
As for me, I can only say this: Nikki convinced me to leave Daily Variety after 20 years, and it was the right move and I have never enjoyed collaborating with a journalist more than I have with her. I love what the reporters and editors here have built here with her guidance, it feels memorable and important, and I think we have a lot more to say and do together. Internal stuff happens from time to time and it gets worked out, despite the sensationalized reporting that amounts to wishful thinking on the part of The Wrap, which couldn’t carry Deadline’s jockstrap.
However, as the first comment to his post asks:
No offense but that letter leaves out the key issue here. Will Nikki be writing anymore here, or, will she be on “gardening leave” while the time runs out on her contract? The text above just says she wasn’t fired, which can often be a mere technicality when someone is pushed out of a position in other ways.
Somewhere, Cathy Seipp is enjoying every minute of this kerfuffle involving her bête noire, whom she excoriated at length in a classic National Review Online article in 2004; Hedda Hopper versus Louella Parsons updated for the Internet age.
However, if the report from The Wrap does turn out to be true, I’ll be curious to see where Finke goes next, as I have enjoyed many of her posts at Deadline Hollywood.