In a 1583 word soliloquy, Deadline's film editor Mike Fleming announced today that he will be stepping up his role at the troubled e-trade, and will officially be spending half a year in Los Angeles and the remainder at his Long Island home. But does this mean he's being groomed to replace editor-in-chief, Nikki Finke?

Given the recent negotiations between Finke and her PMC boss, Jay Penske, coupled with Finke's absence (being packaged as a much-needed vacation), it sure seems possible. Especially when you factor in this quote from Fleming in his article:

The hope is to take as much ground as I can for Deadline Hollywood and help it continue to evolve. The tone and the urgency and irreverence of this site will always be trademarks of Nikki Finke...but I am eager to see how I can do it better.

We reached out to Fleming, who was a reporter at Variety for 20 years prior to joining Deadline, for comment. While he denies the rumor, and states that this is solely born out of him finally having time in his life to be a bicoastal film editor, it does merit a closer look: where Finke has been known to ruffle feathers, Fleming has often been known to smooth them. Given Penske's disapproval for Finke's more aggressive journalistic tendencies, it stands to reason that Fleming is being seriously considered for the top job.

We have reached out to PMC for comment and have not heard back.