BY ROBERT W. WELKOS
Intrigue. Suspense. Denials. No comments.
The latest episode in the Tiger Woods or the Jesse James sex scandals?
It’s the industry buzz surrounding who will be the next editor-in-chief of The Hollywood Reporter, the venerable and now wounded entertainment trade publication.
I bring this up only because last Friday I had a curious response when I e-mailed Sharon Waxman of The Wrap asking whether she could address whether she was offered the editor’s job at THR.
Her cryptic e-mailed response: “Sorry, I can’t comment on the subject of your question.”
Now, it is certainly Waxman’s right to decline comment on any subject she so wishes, but it comes not long after she herself e-mailed her arch-rival in the Hollywood journalism game, Nikki Finke, whether “La Finke,” as Waxman calls her, was considering jumping ship at Deadline.com to become editor-in-chief of THR?
Waxman’s inquiry brought a quick response from 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. He told the trade publication: “There is no truth to the report that Finke has been offered the job of editor-in-chief.”
Finke herself revealed that the “offer was real” and included “$450,000 annual salary” plus a $1million Malibu home, which I was told, “you can keep whether you stay 5 minutes or 5 years, in the job.”
Finke stressed that she “does not negotiate” but noted that she “set in motion a dialogue about mutually beneficial business betweenmy parent company MMC and the new THR owners. That discussion continues.”
All this got me to thinking: why is Waxman being coy about whether she has offered the editor’s job?
In Hollywood, things often aren’t what they seem. My mind has been swirling with scenarios. Did Waxman’s refusal to comment mean that she had been approached but thought it best not to say anything since she didn’t want to be accused of possibly jumping ship at The Wrap? Or had Waxman not been approached and simply didn’t want to provide ammunition for Finke to gloat? Whatever the reason, Waxman should be applauded for flushing out Finke and getting her to state on the record that she had received an offer but wouldn’t be leaving her current job at Deadline.com.
But if Waxman is or isn’t being considered for the same job, shouldn’t she now state that for the record?