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November 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

After a ferocious battle with the investor who acquired her Deadline.com for a reported $14 million in 2009, industry tattler Nikki Finke tweeted early today (Wednesday). “Jay Penske has just told me I am free to leave. He tried to buy my silence. No sale.” Two additional tweets followed: “Great day! I loved starting Deadline Hollywood and I loved what we built. I now can leave and start a new career. …” Then: “I’ll announce shortly [on NikkiFinke.com, a site that is currently not active] what will be the new showbiz news feed. Exciting changes!” Separately, she told the Los Angeles Times: “I’m so happy.” At Deadline.com, Mike Fleming, Jr. and Nellie Andreeva, who were brought aboard to oversee film and TV coverage respectively, dashed off a brief notice announcing that Finke “will no longer be leading Deadline Hollywood [the original name of the website]” They added: “This is an emotional and painful parting of the ways for us.” Terms of Finke’s contractual divorce from investor Jay Penske were not disclosed, although she acknowledged in her interview with the Times that she was leaving “money on the table.” Her contract was not due to expire until 2016. According to industry reports, Finke’s relationship with Penske deteriorated after Penske bought Variety, the granddaddy of showbiz trade publications, in October 2012 and not only failed to give her a role in running it but then began to plow resources into it that might otherwise have gone to Deadline. Today, Variety covered her departure perfunctorily in fewer than 200 words. But TheWrap.com, a competitor that Finke has fought tooth and nail, impishly invoked Finke’s signature TOLDJA! headline, noting that it had reported last June that she and Penske would be parting ways. In its report about her departure, it said, “Penske has been grooming Fleming to take Finke’s place, according to sources, but few in the industry believe that the former Variety reporter can truly replace Finke’s authoritative voice, which made for a compelling read, even at her most vicious.” In his statement with Andreeva posted on the Deadline site today, Fleming commented, “Businesses evolve and change, and we’ve learned that no one is indispensable.” But on Monday Finke indicated that she intends to demonstrate how indispensable she actually can be, telling USA Today that she intends to reduce Deadline “back to where The Hollywood Reporter and Variety were when we put them out of business.”