Deadline editor-in-chief Nikki Finke has spoken out on her feud with site owner Jay Penske, saying she wants to buy Deadline.com back from the automobile heir’s Penske Media Group.
“Jay Penske shared my vision of what Deadline could be, [but] now circumstances have changed with the addition of Variety and the issue is whether this shared vision is still intact,” Finke said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “One of the most noble things Jay Penske could ever do would be to give me back Deadline.”
If they don’t make a deal, Finke threatened to launch another site, NikkiFinke.com, that would “fill a different need for the Hollywood community” than Deadline’s. Though she declined to elaborate on how, she did tell the Journal that “it is very clear that our specialty is breaking news. I would like to see Variety’s specialty be analysis and commentary.”
Penske’s PMC — which bought Variety for $25 million last year with Daniel Loeb’s Third Point behind it — is open to a sale, the Journal reported, citing “a source close to Penske Media.” Finke noted in her interview with WSJ reporter Ben Fritz that she’s seeking a financial backer.
Either way, Finke said, “I have confidence that no matter what happens, Jay and I can reach an amicable solution to all of this.”
Finke and Penske’s stormy relationship soured after the sale of Variety, where Finke believed she’d hold a position of power. But when that didn’t materialize, Finke began freely taking pot-shots at Variety and her boss, at one point mocking its “humiliating loss of readership and influence.”
A spokesperson for Penske told the Journal that the company intends to continue its relationship with Finke through the end of her contract, which goes through 2016.
In response to TheWrap’s request for comment on the Journal story, Finke said: “Go fuck yourself and your inaccurate website.”