Finke Wins Freedom

Nikki Finke is free at last.


The acid-tongued blogger and founder of Deadline Hollywood has separated from the website she founded and is preparing a new home on the web,, according to announcements from both sides of a year-long battle.

Finke tweeted that she is evaluating potential partners for the new website, which currently displays a black background and what looks like a drip of blood.

“Nikki Finke is coming to Hollywood,” the text reads. “Come for the cynicism. Stay for the subversion. Don’t steal Nikki’s scoops.”

She announced the parting Nov. 5 in her Twitter feed, which continued to repost Deadline reports.

“Jay Penske has just told me I am free to leave,” she tweeted. “He tried to buy my silence. No sale.”

Her former colleagues at Deadline confirmed the news in a brief announcement.

“Despite attempts by all to have it go otherwise, Nikki Finke will no longer be leading Deadline Hollywood, and she will not be writing weekend box office or filing stories going forward,” the post, written by two remaining editors, said.

Penske, as head of Penske Media Corporation, first acquired – which had already acquired – and then rival Variety in 2012. It was widely reported at the time that Finke expected to land a top leadership role with the historic trade magazine.

Not only did that not happen, but she accused Penske of diverting resources to Variety.

Finke let her extreme displeasure be known on not only Twitter, but on Deadline’s front page, and continued to take jabs at her boss – escalating into an Internet brawl in recent weeks. In the meantime, her writing became less frequent – save for weekend box office reports. Another Finke rival, Sharon Waxman of The Wrap, reported in error at one point that Finke had been fired by Penske.

Despite reports that she had a contract with Penske that runs through 2016, neither side revealed terms of her exit.

A spokeswoman for Penske at one time told the New York Times that “Nikki’s multiyear contract with Deadline is not something that ends soon, and it would unconditionally prohibit her starting any other website.”

But Finke disputed that claim Nov. 6 via Twitter.

“Let me be clear: I have NO non-compete and NO confidentiality with Penske. Anyone claiming that hasn’t read my contracts.”

And she told the Times “there is nothing to stop I have many offers from partners and we are narrowing them down.”