Back at the beginning of the summer, rumors swirled that Hollywood scoopster extraordinaire Nikki Finke had been fired by her boss, Jay Penske, who purchased her popular blog, Deadline, back in 2009. Finke denied the allegations at the time, attributing them to petty industry rivalry, and it seems that she was never actually terminated. But according to a new interview in The Wall Street Journal, the relationship between Finke and Penske has indeed soured, and now Finke wants to make a break for it.
Back in 2011, Penske also purchased Variety, restructuring their publishing strategy, but failing to integrate the property with Deadline in any way, leaving two direct competitors squabbling under the same roof. As reported by Ben Fritz in The Wall Street Journal, "After Mr. Penske purchased Variety last year, Deadline founder and editor Nikki Finke became unhappy that he didn't give her a role at the older and more famous competitor. She is now seeking to buy back control of her website, she says, or if that isn't possible, start a new one."
Although Penske's reps said that fully intended to enforce Finke's contract through 2016, they also said that a sale of the website was not out of the question, although they had yet to receive any offers. Should Finke be unable to wrest Deadline back, however, she has plans for another web property, although she claims it will serve a different purpose than that of either Variety or Deadline.
Although Finke is known for her acidic writing style (the initial rumors of her firing claimed her aggressive attitude as the main justification), Finke's brief comments to the Journal were relatively placid. "I have confidence that no matter what happens, Jay and I can reach an amicable solution to all of this," she said.