Blogger Wars: Chapter 2 – Nikki Finke vs. Sharon Waxman
By ROBERT W. WELKOS
Chapter 2 – The Nikki-Sharon Wars: The blogger wars heated up Friday with Nikki Finke of Deadline Hollywood fame and Sharon Waxman of The Wrap tangling over Finke’s jaw-dropping contention that she turned down a lucrative offer (a $1 million condo in Malibu among other things) to become editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter.
The latest twist in the Nikki-Sharon Wars came when Richard Beckman, CEO of THR’s parent firm, e5 Global Media, which last December acquired THR along with Billboard, Adweek and other Nielsen Business Media properties, told the entertainment trade publication that “there is no truth to the report that Finke has been offered the job of editor-in-chief.”
“Huh,” Finke reacted on her popular blog. “I’ve gone over my notes, and let me reaffirm that the offer was real and detailed and made to me by one of Beckman’s bosses during a phone conversation on the night of January 13th. It consisted of: $450,000 annual salary for becoming editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter. Plus a $1 million Malibu home which, I was told, “you can keep whether you stay 5 minutes or 5 years, in the job. (Why this? Because I had said that some day I want to buy a Malibu condo with an ocean view.) Plus a sum, roughly estimated, at $650,000 a year for my share of several cable TV deals which e5 anticipated making for THR. And so on. Other people know about this offer, too.”
Finke did not identify who among Beckman’s superiors allegedly offered her this deal.
“Let me reiterate that I did not negotiate,” Finke stressed. “Instead, I set in motion a dialogue about mutually beneficial business between my parent company MMC and the new THR owners. That discussion continues.”
“Now let me add this: at the time, I thought this a lucrative offer but also a ludicrous one, considering how many THR journalists are going to lose their jobs when e5 Global Media transitions the trade from a weekday paper to a monthly glossy magazine, and website operation filled with syndicated content, and cable TV programmer. THR needs a miracle worker. But to justify this money, that person must walk on water.?
Waxman touched this latest skirmish when she questioned whether Finke was considering jumping to another job.
“The word I hear from one source involves a scenario in which La Finke, much feared, widely read, deeply disliked , could leave Deadline.com for another job elsewhere,” Waxman wrote. “I agree this sounds unlikely, given that she sold her site just last summer to Jay Penske’s Mail Media Corporation for a cash sum and a 10-year deal that has been estimated anywhere from $10 million to $15 million.
“But that’s what I’m hearing. I can’t say more about the job, but it would be editorial and based here in the entertainment industry. Apparently not all the ‘i’s were dotted, nor all the ‘t’s crossed in her MMC deal, which supposedly involved an employment contract.. (That would be the 10-year aspect of it all).”
On Friday, Waxman took note of Beckman’s denial, adding: “Meanwhile, La Finke has responded to me, but she’s back to form. She writes (and this is the entirely of the missive): “Your story today is deliberately and maliciously inaccurate, again.” I’ll take that as a denial.
Other Hollywood bloggers have taken note of the flap.
For example, David Poland, in his Hot Blog column, writes with ample snarkiness: “The denial of having made Crazy Nikki and offer from Richard Beckman, I have to say, reeks of a non-denial denial. The precision of the language, “there is no truth to the report that the site’s editor has been offered the job of editor-in-chief,” suggest that though Nikki may not have been offered the E-I-C job, she may well have been offered something else altogether, something even more lucrative. I don’t know a person on the face of the earth aside from CN herself, who thinks Nikki can manage another human being without turning it into a CSI episode within weeks. Really, I don’t even think that Nikki thinks she is a manager.”