Nikki Finke (born 1953) is an American journalist, blogger, publisher and writer. She is presently consultant to Penske Business Media LLC and senior editorial contributor for PBM run by media owner Jay Penske. She also is founder and CEO of Hollywood Dementia LLC and its website HollywoodDementia.com for showbiz short fiction. She was the founder, editor-in-chief, and president of Deadline.com, 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. Finke has been called the "most feared, despised, and uncompromising journalist in Hollywood."
On November 5, 2013, Deadline Hollywood announced Nikki Finke's departure. On June 12, 2014, she launched NikkiFinke.com. On August 3, 2015, she launched HollywoodDementia.com 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?"
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 DeadlineHollywoodDaily.com 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."
On February 1, 2017, Finke rejoined Penske's media company.
Finke's first job after Wellesley was in New York congressman Ed Koch's Washington, D.C. office. According to Finke, she decided to become a reporter after seeing how Koch and his staff "would genuflect to journalists". Finke joined the Associated Press (AP) and covered Koch's successful 1977 New York City mayoral campaign, and worked on the AP's foreign desk at the New York City headquarters, 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. Finke has also written for The New York Times, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Harper's Bazaar, Elle, The Washington Post, Salon.com, Premiere, and Los Angeles magazine.
Finke wrote her LA Weekly column "Deadline Hollywood" from June 2002 to June 2009, and began the Deadline (Deadline Hollywood Daily until September 2009) blog in March 2006 as a daily online version of her weekly column. She describes 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" writing style, who is "feared by [Hollywood] executives". Deadline became a key information portal during the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike, tripling her readership; 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". 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.
In 2008 Finke was named on Elle magazine's 25 most influential women in Hollywood list, and to the Heeb Magazine 100. In 2009 she sold Deadline to Jay Penske's Mail.com Media Corp, reportedly for $14 million, under an agreement by which she continues as the editor-in-chief and President of the website which still features her reporting and commentary.
In 2006, Finke's LA Weekly columns won First Place in the Alternative Weekly Awards for the category Media Reporting/Criticism, Circulation >50,000. 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." In the 2007 AltWeekly Awards, Deadline won Second Place.
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".
Observers have questioned Finke's "harsh tone", "summary executions", "penchant for innuendo and unnamed sources", and allegedly giving better coverage to "her favorites" and frequent sources, such as Ari Emanuel and Ronald Meyer. 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 a Deadline Hollywood Daily report about the director of the third Twilight film.