Swirling tornado of anger Nikki Finke has openly declared war on current boss Jay Penske in her continued efforts to finagle Deadline Hollywood back from Penske's PMC. Mind you, this is but a mere two weeks after she told The Wall Street Journal, "I have confidence that no matter what happens, Jay and I can reach an amicable solution to all of this."
It's no secret that these negotiations were going to go down as easily as a spoonful of cayenne pepper, especially given that—other than two half-hearted box office updates—Finke hasn't typed a word on Deadline since August. In a recent interview with The New York Times, Finke airs her grievances with Penske's management of Variety compared to Deadline, both of which are owned by PMC. Aside from a perceived lack of resources and ad dollars, Finke states:
“We are covering the same stories, pushing out the same e-mail alerts and there is little or no differentiation,” Ms. Finke said. Her solution, she said, would be to make Deadline the breaking news and commentary site and to have Variety focus on “analysis and deep dive.”
A legion of terrified, cowed Finke devotees have vocally supported her over this, but... isn't this how media conglomerates work? PMC owns, among other properties, Variety, Deadline, TVLine, Movieline, and Hollywoodlife; these blogs all overlap, but it's only Variety that has Finke's granny panties in a bunch. It might be true that Penske has given more resources to Variety, especially given reports that he's grown tiresome of Finke's bullying ways, but it's hard to overlook the fact that whining and threatening the competition isn't the way to differentiate yourself—consistently out-pacing, out-reporting, and out-scooping your in-house competition is.
(After all, PMC isn't doing anything revolutionary by owning competing brands—you're reading just one of Gawker Media's many properties that covers Hollywood and the entertainment industry.)
Finke has been actively looking for a financial backer, for the new site she may not even be able to build: PMC remains firm on the fact that Finke is under contract until 2016 and is in no way able to make a new website, though Finke maintains that her contract allows her certain outs. Phoenix-based investor Jahm Najafi is rumored to have recently dropped out of helping her buy back Deadline from PMC.
She has also taken to her Twitter—a medium she normally only used to retweet Deadline articles—to further openly declare war, by retweeting her anti-Variety supporters.
So what will come of Deadline? Will we be seeing a new NikkiFinke.com where Finke can be "50 times more truthful and brutal" than she was before? Will this website soon be renamed Nikki Finke's Defamer.com? It remains to be seen, but until then, crack open a bag of popcorn and enjoy the schadenfreude with the rest of Hollywood.