The long saga of the breakup between Nikki Finke and Deadline, the site she founded, ended on Tuesday night with an announcement that Finke will no longer be editing or writing for the site. The end of the story came with an uncharacteristically civil pair of announcements from both Finke and two of the site's senior staffers. "We wish her well and appreciate the opportunity to have worked alongside her," Deadline's Mike Fleming Jr. and Nellie Andreeva wrote. Here was Finke's take:
Jay Penske has just told me I am free to leave. He tried to buy my silence. No sale.— Nikki Finke (@NikkiFinke) November 6, 2013
Great day! I loved starting Deadline Hollywood and I loved what we built. I now can leave and start a new career at http://t.co/8vaMwz16aD— Nikki Finke (@NikkiFinke) November 6, 2013
I'll announce shortly where I'm going to set up http://t.co/8vaMwz16aD and what will be the new showbiz news feed. Exciting changes!— Nikki Finke (@NikkiFinke) November 6, 2013
To recap: the announcement ends a months-long, very public disagreement between Finke and the site, attracting some significant media rubbernecking. It started with a report that Finke had been fired from the site over the summer, a report that turned out to be false. But shortly after, Finke began to try and remove herself from the site, and its owner Jay Penske, and her contract that would have kept her there until 2016. The disagreement has to do with Penske's decision to buy Deadline's direct competitor, Variety, putting Deadline in competition for attention and resources. It became an ugly, public, war of the words. Fleming Jr., who wished Finke well today, more or less threw Finke under the bus in October, quite possibly because he's the presumptive heir to the editorship. Shortly before Fleming sided with Penske, Finke announced that she was planning to start her own site next year, if she could get out of her contract with Deadline. That, apparently, happened today. Deadline writes:
Despite attempts by all to have it go otherwise, Nikki Finke will no longer be leading Deadline Hollywood, and she will not be writing weekend box office or filing stories going forward. This is an emotional and painful parting of the ways for us.
To mark the change, Finke erased the "Deadline" from the "Deadline Hollywood" logo that serves as her Twitter avatar, writing in "Nikki Finke's" in its place. Her new site will apparently be at Nikkifinke.com, which currently redirects to the announcement of her departure on Deadline.