We've Got Hollywood Covered

Is Nikki Finke for Sale Again? (updated II)

Word comes that she’d held conversations about reselling

Update Friday, as if it were needed:

For the record, here’s what Nikki has to say about the offer or non-offer: "

Huh? I’ve gone over my notes, and let me reaffirm that the offer was real and detailed and made to me by one of Beckman’s bosses during a phone conversation on the night of January 13th. It consisted of: $450,000 annual salary for becoming editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter. Plus a $1 million Malibu home which, I was told, "you can keep whether you stay 5 minutes or 5 years" in the job. (Why this? Because I had said that some day I want to buy a Malibu condo with an ocean view.) Plus a sum "roughly estimated" at $650,000 a year for my share of several cable TV deals which e5 anticipated making for THR. And so on. Other people know about this offer, too."

Beckman says he’s never spoken or emailed with Finke. Finke says this is true.

But more on that on the next post, coming soon…


Update at Thursday evening: 

Two new pieces of information: Richard Beckman, the new CEO of The Hollywood Reporter’s parent company e5 Global Media, has said Nikki Finke was indeed not offered the editor job. He wrote on the trade’s site: "There is no truth to the report that the site’s editor has been offered the job of editor-in-chief.

"We have great ambitions for The Hollywood Reporter and all its properties and intend to create the most powerful platform in the entertainment industry," Beckman said.

E5 Global Media purchased The Hollywood Reporter, Billboard, Adweek and other Nielsen Business Media properties in December.

Meanwhile, La Finke has responded to me, but she’s back to form. She writes (and this is the entirety of the missive): "Your story today is deliberately and maliciously inaccurate — again."

I’ll take that as a denial.


Amusing to learn that Nikki Finke says today she was offered, but rejected, the editor-in-chief job at the Hollywood Reporter. The reason she posted that at 5:22 a.m. (presuming the time stamp is credible, because who knows) is because I gave her the courtesy of a heads up regarding the post I wrote below last night, but didn’t publish until now.

I emailed both Finke and Jay Penske for comment, and their silence — no response, not "no comment," not the usual Finke-ian insults and personal invective — should tell us a lot. (And in truth, I’ve been in transit since early this am, and only wired in now to post).

I do not believe Finke was offered that job. I do believe she was in talks over it.

So if that’s the case, here’s the question I have, and would put to Jay: How do you feel about having bought a news site which essentially consists of Nikki Finke, and have her consider bowing out? What, then, do you own exactly? 

My source tells me that Finke’s employment contract with MMC doesn’t have all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed. And we all know that big-ticket pay-out deals, like the one that Finke supposedly has to the tune of somewhere between $10 to $15 million, are exceedingly hard to achieve.

When she was bought last summer, Finke was delighted to let it be known that she had something close to a 10-year contract (which in California may well be unenforceable, I’m told by attorneys). So … what about that? 

As for a business deal under way between MMC and THR — well, I’ll be delighted to bring you a response from Jay Penske, should he decide to provide one. 

The Unpublished Post: 

It’s been a busy day and I’ve heard a lot of stuff that’s tantalizing and juicy (I’ll spare you for the moment the blow-by-blow over pay TV deals that are on the road to expiring — an important topic for another day).

But of all the things I heard in travels from Santa Monica to Burbank to Sunset Blvd and back (and the traffic really blew) was this: could Nikki Finke be in talks to sell herself yet again? 

The word I hear from one source involves a scenario in which La Finke — much feared, widely read, deeply disliked — could leave Deadline.com for another job elsewhere. I agree this sounds unlikely, given that she sold her site just last summer to Jay Penske’s Mail Media Corporation for a cash sum and a 10-year deal that has been estimated anywhere from $10 million to $15 million.

But that’s what I’m hearing. I can’t say more about the job, but it would be editorial and based here in the entertainment industry. Apparently not all the ‘i’s were dotted, nor all the ‘t’s crossed in her MMC deal, which supposedly involved an employment contract. (That would be the 10-year aspect of it all.)

Could she be tempted away to a bigger job, with a wider platform and leave Deadline.com behind? And where would that leave Jay Penske? Or Mike Fleming for that matter? 

I sent emails seeking comment to both Finke and Penske, and have not heard back.