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Trade Wars Update: Who's Yelling Now?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood August 22, 2013 at 6:09PM

So the question remains, how much does Jay Penske need Nikki Finke to keep the Deadline coffers flowing? And why are Finke and Claudia Eller--both prodigious yellers who often bully their sources into submission to get the scoops they want--yelling at each other?
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Bonnie Fuller, Jay Penske
Bonnie Fuller, Jay Penske

Jay Penske can handle himself in the ring. From Hollywood Life's Bonnie Fuller and Deadline's Nikki Finke to Variety's Claudia Eller, he's surrounded by powerful, strong-willed women. While Fuller and Eller have managed to thrive within corporate institutions like Us Magazine and The Los Angeles Times, respectively, Finke has always struggled with anyone who tells her what to do. 

That's why she found her greatest success as an entrepreneurial blogger who ran her own show with host and ad seller LA Weekly. Well, she gave that up for a considerable payday. But when you have a boss who pays the bills, that's who you answer to. That's the bottom line.

So the question remains, how much does Jay Penske need Finke to keep the Deadline coffers flowing? And why are Finke and Eller--both prodigious yellers who often bully their sources into submission to get the scoops they want--yelling at each other?

Recent breathless reports that Finke and Penske are fighting are like telling us that a bear goes potty in the woods. They do it every day, although Finke is now telling people that she isn't working to get what she wants. Buzzfeed solicited a comment from Penske's reps: 

“In response to your request for comment regarding Nikki Finke, I wanted to reiterate what was already stated on the record after The Wrap article was published back in June of this year: Nikki has a multi-year contract with the company, and it is the company’s absolute intention to continue its obligations under its agreements with her.”

Finke's site helped to build Penske's media empire. But now Deadline is no longer the favored child, they're competing for stories and resources with a newly robust Variety. The only organizational solution is for the two sites to merge. That is unlikely happen until Finke's contract expires next year.

This article is related to: New Media, Variety


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.