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Finke vs. Waxman Redux

by Anne Thompson
April 23, 2010 10:16 AM
4 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

Here's the deal. Something's got to give in the trade space. Too many people are jostling for dominance in a very crowded pond.

With their small staffs, Deadline and The Wrap are encroaching on the bigger trades, along with a multitude of bloggers. And New York Vulture, the LAT and the NYT are chasing breaking entertainment news--that's what made Nikki Finke famous. Meanwhile Finke seems to be calming down and trying to play nice in the showbiz sandbox (so as not to spook advertisers; Deadline owner Mail.com is bundling ads across all its sites quite effectively) but can't resist poking rival Sharon Waxman when there's negative spin to put on such news as TV star Joe Adalian leaving for Vulture.

While some people view Waxman as desperately raising more money to keep The Wrap afloat, she sees herself as successfully pursuing new opportunities for her site, she wrote in an email:

Thompson on Hollywood
we will have an announcement about a new round of investment coming presently...that is a sign of the health of the company, and a signal of significant success. investors don't reinvest when they are unhappy with the results. nor do new investors enter the picture when things looks risky. neither is the case, though clearly nikki is doing her best to spread misinformation. as for looking for "potential partners," that is called business development, which just means we are doing business. also, a good thing. if we weren't, we'd be stagnating, and instead we are continuing to grow, rapidly.

L.A. Fishbowl says that both Deadline and The Wrap's numbers are declining, while THR's are going up. I maintain that THR has a strong online strategy and is leaner and meaner than Variety, which is still stuck in the past--although they finally figured out that posting stories online at the end of the day west coast time is like pissing in the wind.

Meanwhile, it's no surprise that the HBO Hollywood blogger series Tilda, set to star Diane Keaton, closely resembles La Finke. Having read the script, THR wonders how long it will take the litigious, thin-skinned Finke to sue HBO. Whatever she does--she'll know how to milk it for attention. That's the primary skill necessary for survival these days.


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More: Media

4 Comments

  • Bob | May 28, 2010 10:49 AMReply

    OK, Nikki & Sharon perform a function.. much in the same way 'sex workers' supply a service to the 'trade'. Most of the time they are simply inaccurate, plain wrong, or, worse, misrepresenting gossip as fact to further their own agenda.. or even worse.. the agenda of their advertisers...
    Which is why, perhaps curiously, you are better off reading The Hollywood Reporter or Variety.. if you want to understand the workings of the industry, that is.
    But if you want to know who is backing who in the stakes of shafting who is besting whom in order to secure advertising dollars... then stick to the schlock... not that you'lll get the real story anyway....

  • Bo | April 25, 2010 1:34 AMReply

    Nikki gets the stories that Waxman can only dream about. Nikki's clearly having fun, after years of grunt work.
    Stern doesn't break any news--he's an entertainer, so thus, duh, of course he has fun.

  • EmilDC | April 24, 2010 4:51 AMReply

    I think Sharon probably has fun at her job (because she's the boss) but her underlings aren't (friend of a friend hates her guts, says she is a nightmare to work for etc etc.) Major problem there with turnover.

    I agree with Joe quite a bit. Why are journalists in Hollywood in our faces all the time? Shouldn't it be about the stories?

    As for Waxman, I think Nikki's needling is probably overdone but contains a kernel of truth. I'm sure Sharon can scare up *some* cash to keep the business afloat for a while longer, but I would be shocked if she is making any decent money. Maybe she has friends and family who are propping her up? If she doesn't name actual investors in the inevitable forthcoming press release, you know her poppa is paying the bills.

    Fundamentally, the Wrap is just one site, mostly lame, especially since Adalian is walking out the door. Why "investors" are paying for this ridiculous soap opera of egos is beyond me.

  • Joe Valdez | April 23, 2010 12:09 PMReply

    Question, Anne. Do you think any of these women are having fun at their jobs? Howard Stern seemed to maintain a sense of humor while being King of All Media, at least maintaining the illusion that you can enjoy yourself while being mega successful. Otherwise, what's the point?

    Sharon Waxman has done superlative writing, but every time I see her on a panel, I wish she'd laugh about something. Everyone is so busy defending their turf and reacting to change that they come across like chess pieces as opposed to writers.

    Not to kiss ass here but I think this may be why I read your column and not theirs.

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