Nikki Finke has stopped writing her blog. Still at the top of NikkiFinke.com, the new blog launched in June, is her August 11 Robin Williams "exclusive." Two weeks later, she has not posted any explanation for why she has gone silent. This has lead to widespread speculation in Hollywood, and over at the site she founded, Deadline, real fear. She sold Deadline in 2009 to Penske Media Corporation, which in turn bought Variety for $25 million in 2012. Relations between Finke and Jay Penske went downhill from there. So where’s Nikki?
The word on the street: that Finke was seeking to hang onto the apartment she had been given by Penske, and was holding out for a check. And she may have to accept a ten-year non-compete clause. The real arbitration wasn’t going to take place until mid-November. So what’s everyone waiting for?
The settlement has not yet been reached. Hollywood is holding its collective breath, wondering if they can heave sighs of relief that they won’t have to worry about hearing that singularly threatening voice on the line again. But in truth Finke’s solo site was not shivering any timbers. She seemed defanged.
The real angst is being felt at Variety and Deadline, whose employees are quite anxious that they might have to work with Finke again. She could write about Hollywood again under Penske’s umbrella. I somehow doubt that she will get back into the industry fray. Been there done that. I don’t have the sense that she was particularly thrilled with being back online–she put no effort into selling ads, clearly–presumably because she knew she would be in legal talks. Posting again was more about tweaking Penske into making the financial settlement she felt she was due.
The millionaire blogger could come back, if she so desires, and write online about topics other than Hollywood, if she or anyone else were interested. Or write for magazines (she has met with Graydon Carter). Or finish her book. (Her last one on Hollywood power agencies was never published.) Or she could relax and enjoy the world, nurture her fragile health, and travel. She doesn’t need the money. She has nothing to prove. She changed the business of covering Hollywood for good. And that she can take to the bank.