Why Nikki Finke Is Launching Her New Site

NikkiFinke.com is defunct. It was shut down in Nikki Finke’s lucrative settlement (she got to keep her condo) with Variety and Deadline publisher Jay Penske, with whom she’s back in touch. She can’t report on Hollywood for anyone. (She considered an offer to join the staff of Politico but really, I understand, didn’t want to move to Washington, D.C. Or have a boss, for that matter.)

What Nikki Finke does have is a contemporary black-and-white headshot that shows what she actually looks like (yes, I’ve met her in person) and a sizable Twitter following (265,000). Again, while she can’t tweet about the box office or Hollywood doings, she can offer fictional content that will titillate her readers, many of whom she first developed during the 2007-8 Hollywood Writer’s Guild Strike. 

So what will the new HollywoodDementia.com give people to read? Finke is throwing out invites to writers who are familiar with the entertainment industry, many of them presumably out of work, who might have some juicy material about the milieu (2500-8000 words) to give her. She’s using the Andrew Sullivan TinyPass model by which people pay from $1 to $3 via credit card to read past the top four paragraphs of each post; the writers get exposure and a share of the [microscopic] revenues.

I am a fan of the great F. Scott Fitzgerald, who Finke is saying inspired her, especially his Pat Hobby stories (which also inspired ace Hollywood chronicler Bruce Wagner’s classic “Force Majeure”; I would not be surprised to see Wagner on Finke’s new blog.) But what I would really like to see is Finke’s version of the old Spy Magazine Celia Brady column, also inspired by Fitzgerald. That I would read.

Spy’s Graydon Carter and Kurt Anderson both funneled reported content from anonymous contributors through their wickedly funny Brady persona with deliciously readable results. It was loosely fictionalized, but based on true stories that everyone in Hollywood wanted to see in print. Except their subjects. ‘Twas ever thus with Nikki Finke. 

After taking 15 months off to travel, relax, get healthy (while her diabetes is messing with her eyesight, she recently passed her driving test) and read books, she’s ready to get back to writing and the occasional podcast. Will her posts become her Hollywood novel? Maybe. 
Right now she’s not talking about running a business for profit. She doesn’t need the money. She wants to enjoy her life not chained to her computer and phone. She invited her ex-Deadline colleague Pete Hammond and his wife Madelyn over for a pleasantly social dinner, they told me, who she had never met. She’s considering making money on the lucrative speaker circuit. It sounds like the girl just wants to have fun.

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