Nikki Jean Finke was a blogger, journalist, publisher, and author who lived in the United States from December 16, 1953, until her death on October 9, 2022. Penske Business Media LLC, owned by Jay Penske, hired her as a consultant and senior editorial contributor. In the entertainment industry, she established Hollywood Dementia LLC and served as its chief executive officer. The company’s website is dedicated to short stories set in the film and television industry.
She also created and served as president and editor-in-chief of Deadline Hollywood, a website that features her and other seasoned journalists’ coverage of the entertainment industry business. Deadline Hollywood Daily was the previous name for this website. She was promoted to an editorial advisor for the parent company Penske Media Corp. in December 2011.
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Nikki Finke’s Career
Upon graduating from Wellesley, Finke began her career in the Washington, D.C. office of New York Representative Ed Koch. Finke claims that after witnessing how Koch and his employees “would genuflect to journalists,” she made up her mind to pursue a career in journalism. Finke worked for the Associated Press (AP) in New York City, Baltimore, Boston, Moscow, and London, and he covered Koch’s victorious 1977 campaign for mayor of New York City.
Finke joined The Dallas Morning News later in his career. After working as a correspondent for Newsweek in both Washington and Los Angeles, she became an entertainment and features writer for the Los Angeles Times. After working as the West Coast Editor for The New York Observer, Finke relocated to New York, where she began penning pieces about the business of Hollywood.
Los Angeles Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, The Washington Post, Salon.com, Premiere, and The New York Times are just a few of the publications to which Finke has contributed. From June 2002 until June 2009, Finke penned the LA Weekly column “Deadline Hollywood.” In March 2006, she launched the Deadline blog as a daily online version of her weekly column. It was her “platform to reveal infotainment industry developments,” as she put it.
Finke’s “in your face” writing style has made him “feared by executives,” according to The New York Times, who called him “a digital-age Walter Winchell.” According to the Times, “Finke’s Web site has become a vital platform for Hollywood…But it struck that may have finally secured her role as a Hollywood power broker,” as her readership tripled during the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike.
The Los Angeles Times reported in 2009 that Finke had announced a five-day vacation after working “nearly around the clock” during the strike. In 2008, Finke was included in the Heeb Magazine 100 and Elle’s list of the 25 most powerful women in Hollywood. In 2009, she sold Deadline to Jay Penske’s Mail.com Media Corp for an estimated $14 million. As part of the deal, she was to remain the website’s editor-in-chief and President, and her reporting and analysis would be included on the site.
Nikki Finke Cause of Death
Nikki Finke, who launched the entertainment trade portal Deadline and was an elbows-out columnist, has died at 68. Finke died Sunday in Boca Raton, Fla., following a protracted illness, a family representative said. Finke was feared for revealing secrets in her L.A. Weekly column, Deadline Hollywood, which she later turned into a website.
She started Deadline Hollywood Daily on a Friday in 2006 and live-blogged the 78th Oscars on Sunday. Penske Media Corp. bought the site in 2009 and recruited Finke as editor-in-chief. Her legacy is entertainment news suited for the internet, with an emphasis on being first, landing exclusives, constantly marketing the work, and piercing through the noise of a crowded media landscape with a loud, opinionated, and often harsh voice.
2011 Times article called her Hollywood’s “most dreaded writer.” Finke remarked in 2016 about Deadline’s 10th anniversary, “I didn’t set out to disrupt.” Or an internet journalist who created something from nothing that knocked Hollywood trades on their heels and is now a $100+ million website.
Or a lady with brass balls, f-you attitude, and cutthroat hustling who told moguls the truth and reported scoops first. I knew showbiz coverage may shift because internet platforms levelled the playing field for Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. The trades were slow to accept that a media organisation might be important without killing trees.
Sands Point, N.Y.-born Finke attended Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She was AP’s Moscow and London correspondent. In the 1980s and 1990s, she wrote for Newsweek, New York Magazine, and the L.A. Times. She later freelanced for the New York Post covering entertainment news. Finke angered Disney and CEO Michael Eisner with 2002 stories concerning Winnie the Pooh royalties. Disney complained to Finke’s managers that her writings were inaccurate and biased against the firm.
The Post dismissed Finke for the Winnie the Pooh articles, and Finke sued Disney for contract interference. Finke wrote for L.A. Weekly and had just relocated her Deadline Hollywood column online when the 2007 Hollywood writers’ strike began. Finke gave agents, executives, and assistants insider news.
Her in-your-face manner of reporting garnered thousands of followers when trade newspapers were studio-friendly. The trades, who rely on ad money from studios and TV networks, were reluctant to confront the billpayers. Finke was unusual. She enjoyed exposing industrial abuses and hypocrisy. Lower-level executives and assistants started tipping her.
Industry leaders and publicists knew they needed Finke’s favour to avoid her online anger. Top industry agents, executives, and publicists were her major sources for undisclosed executive firings, show casting news, and inside the drama. She defended her sources and attacked her enemies. Scion racer Jay Penske bought Deadline in 2009 to become a Hollywood publisher.
Finke left the site she founded after much disagreement with Penske. Finke attacked Penske on Twitter and other sites after leaving. She sought to create another online column, but her Penske contract had a non-compete clause. Finke’s impact in Hollywood decreased, but it can be felt in media publications such as the Wrap and the Ankler and Puck. Terry Finke Dreyfus, her brother-in-law James, and nieces Sarah Greenhill and Diana Leighton survive her.
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