Nikki Finke died at the age of 68. She was a veteran journalist who started the entertainment trade site Deadline. In her prime, she was an elbows-out columnist who gave juicy industry scoops and poked fun at Hollywood’s elite people
A family member said Finke died in Boca Raton, Florida, on Sunday morning after a long illness.
A glimpse of Nikki Finke career
Finke was both respected and feared in the industry for revealing secrets. She did this first through her column in L.A. Weekly, Deadline Hollywood, which she later turned into a website.
She started Deadline Hollywood Daily on a Friday in 2006, and the following Sunday, she used a snarky live blog of the 78th Academy Awards to build her audience. Until 2009, when Penske Media Corp. bought it and hired Finke as editor-in-chief, one person mostly ran the site.
Why was finke the most feared writer?
Her legacy is a type of entertainment news made for the internet instead of print, focusing on being first, and getting exclusives. A 2011 article in The New York Times said she was Hollywood’s “most feared writer” in Hollywood.
Hammond also said Finke was brilliant because he knew how things work in the digital age. He said, “It changed the way Hollywood got their news.” “It was all the time. That’s how the news business has gone, and she was right in the middle of it.” He also said, “Hollywood is full of P.R. machines that try to control the story, but she wouldn’t let them.”
What did her peers comment?
On Sunday, the Times reached out to more than a dozen people in Finke’s field and peers. Most of them declined to comment or didn’t get back to the newspaper.
Sharon Waxman, who started The Wrap and was once Finke’s friend but is now her fierce rival and sworn enemy, called Finke “a tragic figure.”
Waxman said, “She was a very talented journalist who paved the way for what digital media could look like in the early days of the internet.” In the end, “her “scorched-earth” tactics made it impossible for her to be a long-term player in this industry.”
How did she contribute to the industry?
She later worked as a staff writer for the L.A. Times in the late 1980s and early 1990s. She also wrote for Newsweek and New York Magazine. After a few years, she got a freelance job with the New York Post writing about entertainment news.
Finke went on to write her Deadline Hollywood column for L.A. Weekly. She had just moved it online when the 2007 Hollywood writers’ strike started. Agents, executives, and assistants were dying to know what was happening behind the scenes, and Finke did not let them down.
When trade publications covered Hollywood in a way that was friendly to the studios, her direct reporting style won her a lot of fans. Since the trades depended on advertising money from the studios and T.V. networks, they didn’t seem to want to fight with the people who paid their bills.