Update, Friday, Aug. 29: Nikki Finke has taken down nikkifinke.com. She has also deleted nearly all of her tweets between now and May 14. (H/T, people on Twitter.) PMC staffers, which include Variety and Deadline, are assuming she will return, after months of mediation with Jay Penske. On Friday, Eriq Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter tweeted, “I hear that Nikki Finke is getting about $3.5 million in settlement for a 10-year non-compete with Penske.”
Has Nikki Finke folded? According to three sources, the Hollywood writer/editor/entrepreneur/irritant will shut down nikkifinke.com, acquiescing to the demands of her former employer, Penske Media Corporation. Or at least she won’t be writing for it anymore, which is seemingly already the case — her last update to the site was on Aug. 11, the day that Robin Williams died.
Finke would not comment.
Finke launched the eponymous site in June despite PMC’s claim that doing so would violate a non-compete clause in her contract with them. The legal spat was the latest development in Finke’s operatic feud with Jay Penske, the founder and CEO of PMC, against whom she had publicly railed for months to let her out of her contract at Deadline, her successful entertainment trade site that Penske bought in 2009.
With Finke as its sole writer, nikkifinke.com has struggled to break through. In the two months of its existence — an unfairly short period for any nascent news site to be judged by — she hasn’t broken any major stories, though she has gotten traction with her patented weekly box office, as well as a few (equally patented) vitriolic screeds purporting to reveal behind-the-scenes intrigue among flailing executives. But nothing huge yet. The site has not yet hit the minimum threshold to be measured by comScore, which means it probably had fewer than 50,000 unique visitors for the month of July, its only full month of existence.
In an ironic wrinkle, if Finke gives up her site and bows to her contract, that would leave the door open for her to write for one of PMC’s outlets, which includes the revamped Variety and, of course, her old place, Deadline. And, as always with these volatile people, things could change at any time.
A spokeswoman for PMC did not respond to an email and call.