Nikki Finke (born 1953) is an American journalist, blogger, publisher and writer. She is presently consultant to Penske Business Media LLC and senior editorial contributor for PBM run by media owner Jay Penske. She also is founder and CEO of Hollywood Dementia LLC and its website HollywoodDementia.com for showbiz short fiction. She was the founder, editor-in-chief, and president of Deadline Hollywood, a website with original content consisting of her and other veteran showbiz journalists' reporting and commentary on the business of the entertainment industry. The website was formerly known as Deadline Hollywood Daily. In December 2011, she was given the additional title of editorial advisor of parent company Penske Media Corp. Finke has been called the "most feared, despised, and uncompromising journalist in Hollywood."
December 1953 (age 65)
|Occupation||Writer, journalist, blogger, publisher|
|Spouse(s)||Jeffrey W. Greenberg (1980–1982)|
Finke was born to a Jewish family and raised in New York City, where she attended the Hewitt School,and graduated from Wellesley College, where she was the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper.
Finke's first job after Wellesley was in New York congressman Ed Koch's Washington, D.C. office. According to Finke, she decided to become a reporter after seeing how Koch and his staff "would genuflect to journalists". Finke joined the Associated Press (AP) and covered Koch's successful 1977 New York City mayoral campaign, and worked on the AP's foreign desk at the New York City headquarters, Baltimore, Boston, Moscow, and London. Finke later worked for The Dallas Morning News. She joined the staff of Newsweek as a correspondent in Washington and Los Angeles, then at the Los Angeles Times as a staff writer covering entertainment and features. Finke became West Coast Editor for The New York Observer and then New York, where she penned Hollywood business columns. Finke has also written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, The Washington Post, Salon.com, Premiere, and Los Angeles magazine.
Finke wrote her LA Weekly column "Deadline Hollywood" from June 2002 to June 2009, and began the Deadline (Deadline Hollywood Daily until September 2009) blog in March 2006 as a daily online version of her weekly column. She describes it as her "forum to break news about the infotainment industry."
The New York Times described Finke as "a digital-age Walter Winchell" with an "in your face" writing style, who is "feared by [Hollywood] executives". Deadline became a key information portal during the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, tripling her readership; according to the Times, "Finke’s Web site has become a critical forum for Hollywood...But it [is the] strike that may have finally solidified her position as a Hollywood power broker". Finke claimed to have worked "almost around the clock" during the strike; in 2009 the Los Angeles Times noted her announcement of a five-day vacation.
In 2008 Finke was named on Elle magazine's 25 most influential women in Hollywood list, and to the Heeb Magazine 100. In 2009 she sold Deadline to Jay Penske's Mail.com Media Corp, reportedly for $14 million, under an agreement by which she would continue as the editor-in-chief and President of the website which would feature her reporting and commentary.
On November 5, 2013, Deadline Hollywood announced Nikki Finke's departure. On June 12, 2014, she launched NikkiFinke.com. On August 3, 2015, she launched HollywoodDementia.com as a site for showbiz short fiction written by her and other insiders. The New York Times said, "Ms. Finke finds herself facing a daunting new chapter in her career: a plan to leave journalism and write and publish fiction about the entertainment industry.""There is a lot of truth in fiction," she said. "There are things I am going to be able to say in fiction that I can’t say in journalism right now." Patrick Goldstein, a former Los Angeles Times film industry columnist told The New York Times that "everyone [in Hollywood] is secretly full of trepidation about what Nikki’s new site will be like. Will it be literary short stories, or will it be fiction as a thin disguise for the truth?"
On May 11, 2016, Deadline printed Finke's remembrance at how she founded Deadline Hollywood on the occasion of the website's 10-year anniversary. "When I started Deadline Hollywood Daily, as it was called way back in 2006, I needed a quicker way to report breaking entertainment news than my weekly newspaper column. So I bought the URL DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com for 14 bucks and change. I didn’t set out to be a disruptor. Or an internet journalist who created something out of nothing that put the Hollywood trades back on their heels, and today, under Penske Media ownership, is a website worth $100+ million. Or a woman with brass balls, attitude and ruthless hustle, who told hard truths about the moguls and who accurately reported scoops first."
In 2006, Finke's LA Weekly columns won First Place in the Alternative Weekly Awards for the category Media Reporting/Criticism, Circulation >50,000. In 2007, Finke won the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Award for "Entertainment Journalist of the Year" with the judges commenting: "Reading Nikki Finke’s salaciously candid coverage of Hollywood and its inhabitants almost feels like a guilty pleasure. She mixes the news with fearless finger-wagging that’s just fun to read no matter the subject. She tackles the industry monoliths without the kiddy gloves and she seems to have command of the beat." In the 2007 AltWeekly Awards, Deadline won Second Place.
A studio executive said of Finke, "She's very, very, very, accurate, extraordinarily so—you have a supposedly private conversation with two other people, and it's on her site within an hour." Charlie Koones, former Variety publisher, called her a "once-in-a-generation talent".
Observers have questioned Finke's "harsh tone", "summary executions", "penchant for innuendo and unnamed sources", and allegedly giving better coverage to "her favorites" and frequent sources, such as Ari Emanuel and Ronald Meyer. In 2008 she was criticized for first posting a Sony press release and then adding her own analysis which contradicted the release without updating the time stamp, and in early 2009 Finke was accused of retroactively altering a Deadline Hollywood Daily report about the director of the third Twilight film.
- Staff report (October 20, 1974). Law Student Fiance of Nikki Finke. The New York Times
- "Nikki Finke back in business with Jay Penske". New York Post. February 1, 2017.
- "Nikki Finke - Consultant, Penske Business Media, LLC - Penske Media Corporation". LinkedIn. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
- "Feared Hollywood Reporter Turns To Fiction". The New York Times. May 30, 2015.
- Berrin, Danielle (June 24, 2009). "Nikki Finke sells 'DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com' website for $14 million". Greater Los Angeles: The Jewish Journal.
- Elle Magazine: "THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY - Out West, where movies and moguls are made, she's the sheriff" BY LISA CHASE October 10, 2007 | "Actually, being a woman and being Jewish helps. It's one of the great jokes out here that gentiles are handicapped when it comes to Hollywood."
- Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein (February 25, 2010). Rapping it up: Matt keeps going. Boston Globe
- Walker, Hunter (January 18, 2013). "How Ed Koch Helped Make Nikki Finke a Reporter". New York Observer. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
- Friedman, Jon (June 28, 2006). In-your-face Finke keeps Hollywood honest. MarketWatch
- Carr, David. "A Hollywood Blogger Feared by Executives" The New York Times, July 17, 2009.
- Stetler, Brian (November 26, 2007). Alternative Journalist’s Web Site Is Scrutinized for Writers’ Strike News. New York Times
- Fixmer, Andy and Michael Janofsky (November 26, 2007). 'Toldja': Nikki Finke Has the Scoop on Hollywood Writers Strike. Bloomberg.com
- Rainey, James. "Being relentless and harsh pays off for Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke" Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2009.
- Staff report (November 2008). 25 most influential women in Hollywood/ Elle
- Staff report (October 2008). Heeb 100. Heeb Magazine
- Friend, Tad. "Call Me: Why Hollywood fears Nikki Finke." The New Yorker, October 12, 2009.
- Ben Fritz (June 24, 2009). "Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily is sold to Mail.com". Los Angeles Times.
- Fleming jr, Mike; Andreeva, Nellie (November 5, 2013). "Deadline.com And Nikki Finke Parting Ways". Deadline. Archived from the original on 2014.
- "First Post". Nikki Finke. June 12, 2014. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014.
- Aurthur, Kate (May 29, 2014). "No One Really Wants a Nikki Finke Comeback (Except Nikki Finke)". Buzzfeed.
- Finke, Nikki (May 11, 2016). "Deadline Turns 10: Nikki Finke Looks Back". Greater Los Angeles: Deadline.
- Finke's 'Deadline Hollywood' columns in LA Weekly win 2006 Alt-Weekly Award.
- Southern California Journalism Awards
- Altweekly Awards 2007 Archived June 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Goldstein, Patrick. "Summit hires new 'Twilight' director, right? Wrong!" Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2009.
- Fabrikant, Geraldine (August 14, 2005). "Divorce, Corporate American Style". New York Times. Retrieved June 18, 2017.