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Nikki Finke Dies: Deadline Founder & Longtime Entertainment Journalist Was 68

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Nikki Finke, the veteran entertainment journalist who founded Deadline in 2006 and helped grow it into a major player among Hollywood trades, died Sunday morning in Boca Raton, FL after a prolonged illness. She was 68.

The famously reclusive Finke founded her site as Deadline Hollywood Daily, the 24/7 Internet version of her long-running print column “Deadline Hollywood” for LA Weekly. She posted firsthand accounts of how she saw the entertainment business and was unfazed about dressing down its biggest players. Her often biting, acerbic posts called out wrongdoing and wrongdoers as she saw fit — making her a hero to many assistants and below-the-liners while irking many in the C-suites who were not used to anything less than praise.

They pretty much always took her calls, though.

RELATED: Deadline Turns 10 And Celebrates Disruptors: Nikki Finke Looks Back

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Finke’s take-no-prisoners style angered many of showbiz’s top players and delighted others. She often scored huge exclusives, and when they were confirmed by comms teams or publicists, Finke would update her story using her signature “TOLDJA!”

Among Finke’s most famous — or infamous — assignments was her “live-snarking” of Hollywood awards shows including the Oscars, Emmys and Golden Globes. She applied warning labels to many of those live blogs, including, “Come for the cynicism … stay for the subversion” and “Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive.” Indeed, no exec, star, producer or topic was safe then — or in any other Deadline post.

“At her best, Nikki Finke embodied the spirit of journalism, and was never afraid to tell the hard truths with an incisive style and an enigmatic spark. She was brash and true,” said Jay Penkse, founder, chairman and CEO of Penske Media Corporation, which acquired Finke’s blog in 2009. “It was never easy with Nikki, but she will always remain one of the most memorable people in my life.”

A Long Island, NY native, Finke’s pre-Deadline journalism career included positions around the world with some of the most powerful and influential media outlets: as an Associated Press foreign correspondent in Moscow and London, a Newsweek correspondent in Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., and a Los Angeles Times staff writer covering entertainment and features. She was West Coast Editor and Hollywood columnist first for the New York Observer and then for New York Magazine. She also hosted an entertainment industry radio show on public radio in Southern California.

RELATED: Hollywood & Media Deaths In 2022 – Photo Gallery

She joined LA Weekly as its “Deadline Hollywood” columnist in 2002, writing about the business, politics and culture of the media and entertainment industry. Finke launched Deadline Hollywood Daily in March 2006 as a quicker way to report breaking entertainment news than her weekly newspaper column and purchased the domain name for $14.

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Dow Jones’ MarketWatch called Finke the Hollywood “must-read,” Los Angeles magazine said she was “essential reading for those who follow the industry, and New York Observer dubbed Finke “Media Mensch of the Year.”

Finke — and, by extension, Deadline — were cemented into Hollywood’s media consciousness for her blanket coverage of and myriad scoops about the 2007-08 writers strike.

After Deadline Hollywood was purchased in 2009 by Penske’s PMC (then known as Mail.com Media Corporation), Finke became its Editor-in-Chief and general manager. Deadline would go on to become the authoritative source for breaking news and insider analysis/commentary in the industry. PMC went on to control all three of Hollywood’s major trade publications: Deadline, Variety and THR.

In 2010, Finke ranked No. 79 of Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Powerful Women.”

That same year, HBO ordered Tilda, a pilot starring Diane Keaton as a Finke-like reclusive Hollywood blogger — which was conceived and written and developed without Finke’s knowledge or involvement. Also starring Elliot Page and Jason Patric, it was co-created by Bill Condon, who co-wrote the script and directed the pilot. He also exec produced alongside Alan Paol, Alexa Junge and John Hoffman. The pilot had a rocky production and post-production run marred by creative differences, and HBO ultimately passed on it in early 2011.

Finke sometimes butted heads with PMC founder and chairman Penske, and she left Deadline in 2013.

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In 2015, Finke launched HollywoodDementia.com, a site dedicated to fictional tales about Hollywood (read an excerpt here). She entered into a first-look production deal with HBO for material from the site.

From 2011-21, she served as a judge for the Mirror Awards competition, which celebrate excellence in media industry reporting. The honors were bestowed by Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School for Public Communication.

An alum of Wellesley College, Finke long had been a benefactor for the school and spoke to its students over the years.

She is survived by a sister, Terry Finke Dreyfus; brother-in-law James Dreyfus; and nieces Sarah Greenhill and Diana Leighton.

Memorial services will be private.

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Netflix & Paramount+ To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’ ; TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome With Toon Series; ‘One Piece Film Red’ London Takeover — Global Briefs

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Netflix & Paramount+ UK To Profile ‘Strip Search Caller’

Netflix and Paramount+ have struck a first of its kind-of-deal over a true crime documentary telling the story of the strip search caller in the U.S. Paramount+ has taken UK rights to Pervert: The Hunt for the Strip Search Caller and Netflix has rest of world on the doc, which it will be calling Don’t Pick Up the Phone. The deal is believed to be the first time two streamers have worked in such a way in the UK and rest of world. The doc tells the shocking story of a hoax caller who targeted fast food restaurants across the U.S. – posing as a police officer investigating a theft, the caller instructed managers to strip-search the young female employees he said were suspects. For many victims, what began as a humiliating strip search escalated into sexual abuse.

Canada’s TVOKids Spotlights Down Syndrome In Animated Series ‘Griffin And Turner’

EXCLUSIVE: Ontario, Canada’s TVOkids and Big Jump Entertainment are working on 2D-animated series Griffin and Turner. Based on real Canadian brothers who a significant online following, the show follows the supportive pair as they, their friends and family undertake personal challenges but focus on the journey rather than winning. Turner has Down syndrome, and TVOKids executive producer Kirsten Hurd noted the series has been developed in consultation with the Down syndrome community. Producer Big Jump is behind shows such as Shutterbug and Big Words, Small Stories.

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London Gets ‘One Piece Film Red’ Takeover After Record Haul

To celebrate the record-breaking haul of One Piece Film Red in the UK, the Straw Hat Pirates are set for a takeover of iconic London locations on November 26. Via local distributor Anime Limited and Toei Animation, the cast and memorable scenes from the series will be projected onto the County Hall of London, opposite the London Eye as well as other key locations. One Piece Film: Red has grossed over £800,000 in the UK and Ireland since it released earlier this month, making it the biggest of the long-running franchise. A phenomenon in Japan, One Piece Film Red has grossed $162M to date worldwide 



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‘All Quiet On The Western Front’, ‘Belfast’ Top 2022 EFA Arts & Crafts Awards

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Edward Berger’s All Quiet On The Western Front and Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast top the European Film Academy’s Excellence Awards honoring achievement in the arts and crafts categories, the winners of which were announced on Wednesday.

Belfast won best European Production Design for Jim Clay, whose credits include Children Of Men, for which he won a Bafta in 2006, and Murder On The Orient Express.

The drama, set against the backdrop of the beginnings of “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland in 1969, also won best European Costume Design for Charlotte Walter (Blithe Spirit, Misbehaviour)

Netflix-backed German WWI drama All Quiet On The Western Front won best European Make-up & Hair for Heike Merker, and Best European Special Effects for Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller and Markus Frank.

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 In other categories, best European Cinematography was won by Kate McCullough for her work on Colm Bairéad’s Irish-language drama The Quiet Girl.

Best European Editing went to Özcan Vardar and Eytan İpeker for Turkish director Emin Alper’s drama Burning Days.

Polish composer Paweł Mykietyn won best European Original Score went for Jerzy Skolimowski’s EO.

Best European Sound went to Simone Paolo Olivero, Paolo Benvenuti, Benni Atria, Marco Saitta, Ansgar Frerich & Florian Holzner for Michelangelo Frammartino’s cave exploration drama The Hole.

The winners, which are decided by a special expert jury, will receive their awards at the European Film Awards ceremony on 10 December in Reykjavík.

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Jennifer Lopez’s Social Media Mysteriously Goes Dark

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EXCLUSIVE: The actress, producer and top-selling performing artist’s social media channels including Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter have suddenly gone dark in their featured/cover images.

Reps for Jennifer Lopez were unavailable for comment, but we hear from others that The Hustlers and Marry Me actress is on the verge of announcing a new project.

Here’s a look at her Instagram tonight:

While Lopez’s Instagram had erased all posts, a trail of her previous postings remained on Facebook, Tik Tok and Twitter. Across all four social media portals, Lopez counts close to 347M followers, the majority of that coming from her Instagram.

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Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions in June 2021 signed a multi-year first-look deal with Netflix spanning feature films, TV series and unscripted content, with an emphasis on projects that support diverse female actors, writers and filmmakers. Lopez co-runs Nuyorican Productions with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas.

Lopez scored her best opening for a live-action movie at the domestic box office with STX’s 2019 stripper caper Hustlers which debuted to $33.1 million, and grossed $105M stateside, $157.6M worldwide.  As a recording artist, Lopez has sold over 70 million albums, with J.Lo became her bestselling album with 3.8M copies sold in the U.S. and 12M global. Her Netflix thriller The Mother from director Niki Caro is set to debut in May. Her romantic comedy Shotgun Wedding with Josh Duhamel will hit Prime Video on Jan. 27.

On Facebook, one of her followers, Steffany Merino wrote, “What’s happened? Hope you and your wonderful family are ok. I’ll pray for your health and safety.”

Again, we hear something special is in the works in the next few days.



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