Nikki Finke
The photo on her AP press pass in 1979
Nikki Jean Finke

(1953-12-16)December 16, 1953
New York, U.S.
DiedOctober 9, 2022(2022-10-09) (aged 68)
EducationWellesley College
Occupation(s)Writer, journalist, blogger, publisher
(m. 1980; div. 1982)

Nikki Jean Finke (December 16, 1953 – October 9, 2022) was an American blogger, journalist, publisher, and writer. She was a consultant to Penske Media Corporation (PMC) and senior editorial contributor for PMC run by media owner Jay Penske.[1] She founded and was the chief executive officer of Hollywood Dementia LLC and its website,, for showbiz short fiction.[2] She also was the founder, editor-in-chief, and president of Deadline Hollywood, a website with original content consisting of her and other veteran showbiz journalists' reporting and commentary on the business of the entertainment industry. The website was formerly known as Deadline Hollywood Daily. In December 2011, she was given the additional title of editorial advisor of parent company Penske Media Corp.

Early life

Finke was born in New York (reported as either Manhattan or Long Island) on December 16, 1953, one of two daughters born to Jewish parents, Robert and Doris Finke.[3][4][5][6] She was raised in the affluent village of Sands Point, New York.[7]

Finke was educated at Buckley Country Day School and the Hewitt School before attending Wellesley College,[8] where she studied political science and was the editor-in-chief of the college newspaper.[4][9]


Finke's first job after Wellesley was in New York congressman Ed Koch's Washington, D.C. office.[10] She decided to become a reporter after seeing how Koch and his staff would show deference to reporters.[10]

In 1975, Finke joined the Associated Press (AP) and covered Koch's successful 1977 New York City mayoral campaign.[10] She then worked on the AP's foreign desk at the New York City headquarters,[9] Baltimore, Boston, Moscow, and London. Finke later worked for The Dallas Morning News. She joined the staff of Newsweek as a correspondent in Washington and Los Angeles, then at the Los Angeles Times as a staff writer covering entertainment and features. Finke became West Coast Editor for The New York Observer and then New York, where she penned Hollywood business columns.[10] She also wrote for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, The Washington Post,, Premiere, and Los Angeles magazine.[10]

Finke joined the New York Post in 2001, but was fired in early 2002, after she reported that The Walt Disney Company was destroying documents related to a licensing dispute.[10][11] She then sued Disney and the Post for $10 million, alleging the companies had colluded to suppress coverage of the story; she received an out-of-court settlement.[10][11] Afterward, LA Weekly hired her and began running her column "Deadline Hollywood". In 2006, she began the Deadline (Deadline Hollywood Daily until September 2009) blog as a daily online version of her weekly column.[10] She described it as her "forum to break news about the infotainment industry."

The New York Times described Finke as "a digital-age Walter Winchell" with an "in your face"[12] writing style, who is "feared by [Hollywood] executives".[13] Deadline became a key information portal during the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, tripling her readership;[14][15] according to the Times, "Finke’s Web site has become a critical forum for Hollywood...But it [is the] strike that may have finally solidified her position as a Hollywood power broker".[14] Finke claimed to have worked "almost around the clock" during the strike; in 2009 the Los Angeles Times noted her announcement of a five-day vacation.[16]

In 2008 Finke was named on Elle magazine's 25 most influential women in Hollywood list,[17] and to the Heeb Magazine 100.[18] In 2009 she sold Deadline to Jay Penske's Media Corp, reportedly for $14 million,[19] under an agreement by which she would continue as the editor-in-chief and President of the website which would feature her reporting and commentary.[20]

On November 5, 2013, Deadline Hollywood announced Nikki Finke's departure.[21] On June 12, 2014, she launched[22][23] On August 3, 2015, she launched[2] as a site for showbiz short fiction written by her and other insiders. The New York Times said, "Ms. Finke finds herself facing a daunting new chapter in her career: a plan to leave journalism and write and publish fiction about the entertainment industry.""There is a lot of truth in fiction," she said. "There are things I am going to be able to say in fiction that I can’t say in journalism right now." Patrick Goldstein, a former Los Angeles Times film industry columnist, told The New York Times that "everyone [in Hollywood] is secretly full of trepidation about what Nikki’s new site will be like. Will it be literary short stories, or will it be fiction as a thin disguise for the truth?"[2]

On May 11, 2016, Deadline printed Finke's remembrance at how she founded Deadline Hollywood on the occasion of the website's 10-year anniversary. "When I started Deadline Hollywood Daily, as it was called way back in 2006, I needed a quicker way to report breaking entertainment news than my weekly newspaper column. So I bought the URL for 14 bucks and change. I didn’t set out to be a disruptor. Or an internet journalist who created something out of nothing that put the Hollywood trades back on their heels, and today, under Penske Media ownership, is a website worth $100+ million. Or a woman with brass balls, attitude and ruthless hustle, who told hard truths about the moguls and who accurately reported scoops first."[24]


In 2006, Finke's LA Weekly columns won First Place in the Alternative Weekly Awards in the category of "Media Reporting/Criticism, Circulation >50,000".[25] In 2007, Finke won the Los Angeles Press Club's Southern California Journalism Award for "Entertainment Journalist of the Year" with the judges commenting: "Reading Nikki Finke’s salaciously candid coverage of Hollywood and its inhabitants almost feels like a guilty pleasure. She mixes the news with fearless finger-wagging that’s just fun to read no matter the subject. She tackles the industry monoliths without the kiddy gloves and she seems to have command of the beat."[26] In the 2007 AltWeekly Awards, Deadline won Second Place.[27]

A studio executive said of Finke, "She's very, very, very, accurate, extraordinarily so—you have a supposedly private conversation with two other people, and it's on her site within an hour." Charlie Koones, former Variety publisher, called her a "once-in-a-generation talent".[19]

However, others questioned Finke's "harsh tone", "summary executions",[16] "penchant for innuendo and unnamed sources", and allegedly giving better coverage to "her favorites"[13] and frequent sources, such as Ari Emanuel and Ronald Meyer.[19] In 2008 she was criticized for first posting a Sony press release and then adding her own analysis which contradicted the release without updating the time stamp, and in early 2009 Finke was accused of retroactively altering[13][16][19] a Deadline Hollywood Daily report about the director of the third Twilight film.[28]

Personal life and death

In 1974, Finke became engaged to Jeffrey W. Greenberg.[5] They were married from 1980[citation needed] until their divorce in 1982.[4]

Finke's health declined in her later years, primarily from complications of diabetes.[10] She died at a hospice facility in Boca Raton, Florida, on October 9, 2022, aged 68.[10][29]

See also


  1. ^ "Nikki Finke - Consultant, Penske Business Media, LLC - Penske Media Corporation". LinkedIn. Archived from the original on April 21, 2022. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c "Feared Hollywood Reporter Turns To Fiction". The New York Times. May 30, 2015. Archived from the original on October 11, 2022. Retrieved February 11, 2017.
  3. ^ Valinsky, Jordan (October 10, 2022). "Nikki Finke, veteran Hollywood journalist, has died". CNN. Archived from the original on October 10, 2022. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c Genzlinger, Neil (October 10, 2022). "Nikki Finke, Caustic Hollywood Chronicler, Is Dead at 68". The New York Times. Archived from the original on October 10, 2022. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  5. ^ a b "Law Student Fiance of Nikki Finke". The New York Times. October 20, 1974. p. 74. Archived from the original on July 22, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2022.
  6. ^ Chase, Lisa (October 10, 2007). "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly – Out West, where movies and moguls are made, she's the sheriff". Archived from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved October 10, 2022. Actually, being a woman and being Jewish helps. It's one of the great jokes out here that gentiles are handicapped when it comes to Hollywood.
  7. ^ White, Abbey (October 9, 2022). "Nikki Finke, Veteran Entertainment Journalist and Deadline Founder, Dies at 68". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  8. ^ Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein (February 25, 2010). "Rapping it up: Matt keeps going" Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, Boston Globe; accessed November 8, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Walker, Hunter (January 18, 2013). "How Ed Koch Helped Make Nikki Finke a Reporter". New York Observer. Archived from the original on January 20, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bernstein, Jacob (January 21, 2023). "Sharp Edges and Burned Bridges". The New York Times. p. ST1. Archived from the original on January 23, 2023. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  11. ^ a b Shprintz, Janet (April 14, 2002). "Journo sues Disney & N.Y. Post". Variety. Archived from the original on January 23, 2023. Retrieved January 23, 2023.
  12. ^ Friedman, Jon (June 28, 2006). In-your-face Finke keeps Hollywood honest. Archived July 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine MarketWatch
  13. ^ a b c Carr, David. "A Hollywood Blogger Feared by Executives Archived October 11, 2022, at the Wayback Machine" The New York Times, July 17, 2009.
  14. ^ a b Stetler, Brian (November 26, 2007). Alternative Journalist’s Web Site Is Scrutinized for Writers’ Strike News. Archived October 11, 2022, at the Wayback Machine New York Times
  15. ^ Fixmer, Andy and Michael Janofsky (November 26, 2007). 'Toldja': Nikki Finke Has the Scoop on Hollywood Writers Strike. Archived November 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ a b c Rainey, James. "Being relentless and harsh pays off for Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke Archived June 15, 2017, at the Wayback Machine" Los Angeles Times, July 15, 2009.
  17. ^ Staff report (November 2008). 25 most influential women in Hollywood/ Elle
  18. ^ Staff report (October 2008). Heeb 100. Archived April 21, 2010, at the Wayback Machine Heeb Magazine
  19. ^ a b c d Friend, Tad (October 4, 2009). "Call Me: Why Hollywood fears Nikki Finke". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on May 24, 2022. Retrieved April 10, 2022.
  20. ^ Ben Fritz (June 24, 2009). "Nikki Finke's Deadline Hollywood Daily is sold to". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 27, 2009. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  21. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr.; Andreeva, Nellie (November 5, 2013). " And Nikki Finke Parting Ways". Deadline. Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Alt URL Archived August 30, 2017, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "First Post". Nikki Finke. June 12, 2014. Archived from the original on August 17, 2014.
  23. ^ Aurthur, Kate (May 29, 2014). "No One Really Wants a Nikki Finke Comeback (Except Nikki Finke)". Buzzfeed. Archived from the original on May 30, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2017.
  24. ^ Finke, Nikki (May 11, 2016). "Deadline Turns 10: Nikki Finke Looks Back". Greater Los Angeles: Deadline. Archived from the original on July 6, 2021. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  25. ^ Finke's 'Deadline Hollywood' columns in LA Weekly win 2006 Alt-Weekly Award Archived September 30, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ "Southern California Journalism Awards". Archived from the original on February 9, 2008. Retrieved September 17, 2007.
  27. ^ Altweekly Awards 2007 Archived June 20, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  28. ^ Goldstein, Patrick. "Summit hires new 'Twilight' director, right? Wrong! Archived April 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine" Los Angeles Times, March 12, 2009.
  29. ^ Ortiz, Andi; Rossi, Rosemary (October 9, 2022). "Nikki Finke, Pioneering Journalist and Scourge of Hollywood, Dies at 68". TheWrap. Archived from the original on October 9, 2022. Retrieved October 9, 2022.