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Bart & Fleming: Why Nikki Finke Won’t Be Coming Back

By and | Sunday June 22, 2014 @ 11:10am PDT

Bart & Fleming: Why Nikki Finke Won’t Be Coming BackPeter Bart and Mike Fleming Jr. worked together for two decades at Daily Variety. In this weekly Sunday column, two old friends get together and grind their axes on the movie business.

Bart: You and I have lived through a few journalistic zigs and zags in our years at Variety, and we were always candid with each other in analyzing risks and rewards. Variety was started by the Silverman family but the dynasty ran out of sizzle and sold control. Deadline was started by Nikki Finke but she never managed to create a dynasty before running out of sizzle. So the question is this: Where do you take Deadline from here?

FlemingBartColumn_badge__140510005503Fleming: I think we built something exceptional with her. That said, a few people have asked me, ‘Why, when it looked like she might come back, did she start a site that is crapping all over you?’ I might as well begin there. The testiness that existed since her acrimonious exit aside, I got it in my head that enough time had passed and I wanted her back. I leaned on Jay Penske to end arbitration proceedings to make it happen, and he did just that. Here was my thinking. I like her. Even though we never met in person during our time together at Deadline, we had a lot of fun. When she and Jay hired me from Variety, they changed my life. My only goal was to get three kids through college without having to sell my house, and that effort is looking good. Since taking over, I have been able to extend a hand to several people I grew up with at Variety, and they’ve been great hires. I wanted to do the same with Nikki. My feeling was, when you reach the top after an unprecedented climb up a mountain like she did with Deadline, what’s wrong with staying to enjoy the view? I also thought a measured dose of her fire would complement the mix Nellie Andreeva and I have now.

Bart: Seems understandable. So why are you now known on her site as Mike Pflegming? Read More »

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Caption Contest: Funny Or Die Spoofs Deadline Hollywood & Nikki Finke

By | Saturday November 16, 2013 @ 5:28pm PST
Nellie Andreeva

In case you haven’t noticed, Deadline Hollywood and Nikki Finke have been a lot in the news lately. Now we are getting the Funny Or Die treatment. Here is a great photo we’ve obtained from the set of the spoof, which filmed yesterday. Directed by Jody Lambert and written by Lambert and Matt Oberg, who brought the idea to Funny Or Die, the skit promises to reveal who the real Nikki Finke is. You can see in the photo Jean Smart doing her best Nikki Finke impersonation, joined by extras from LA Casting. Co-starring in the video with Smart are Christina Applegate, Denise Vasquez, Ann Lansang, Michelle Gallagher and Amy Harber. Funny Or Die’s Betsy Koch and Rachel Goldenberg are producing. We will update with the video when it’s up but in the meanwhile, in tradition, you can offer a caption for the photo. We will pick the best and list them with the video.

Comments 40 And Nikki Finke Parting Ways

By and | Tuesday November 5, 2013 @ 6:26pm PST

Despite attempts by all to have it go otherwise, Nikki Finke will no longer be leading Deadline Hollywood, and she will not be writing weekend box office or filing stories going forward. This is an emotional and painful parting of the ways for us. When we joined Deadline four years ago from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety (respectively), we felt that we were doing something disruptive and game-changing. That spirit is what brought us together and will keep us together, and the current team will remain on that path. Businesses evolve and change, and we’ve learned that no one is indispensable. We will be adding a few significant hires to our staff imminently and, though we will never completely replace Nikki’s unique voice, we will continue ahead, charging hard, breaking every story possible. On behalf of everyone at PMC and Deadline Hollywood, we wish her well and appreciate the opportunity to have worked alongside her.

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Fleming On Deadline’s Efforts To Restore Nikki Finke’s Game-Changing Writer Voice

By | Friday October 25, 2013 @ 5:28pm PDT
Mike Fleming

A little perspective on what is really going on with Deadline Hollywood founder Nikki Finke. For the past few months, she has unfortunately turned an internal matter, her dissatisfaction, into a public spectacle. While Nikki has been doing box-office from Hawaii for the last five months, the Deadline team that keeps this publication awash in scoops has continued to take the high ground and has absorbed these ridiculous barbs. Her latest flurry of dispatches warrants a response.

First let me make it clear, that Nikki has not been locked out of the site. If she had been, if would’ve been difficult for her to post that she was locked out of the site. That said, Nikki has been restricted to filing and editing her own stories. Secondly, she has complained she is prevented from running Deadline stories on her personal Twitter feed, because she has too many followers. The truth is, she has built a Twitter following with a site that gives the appearance she writes every story on Deadline, when her output continues to diminish. That traffic belongs to Deadline’s Twitter feed. The reason for this and other changes is simple. We are trying to strip away the distractions and diversions that have gotten between her doing what she does best, which is filing provocative copy like the Jeff Robinov scoop earlier today.

When I left Variety to come to Deadline, and Nellie Andreeva joined from THR, Deadline Hollywood was more … Read More »

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UPDATE: No Hiatus For Nikki’s Box Office

By | Friday October 4, 2013 @ 7:12am PDT

FRIDAY 7 AM UPDATE: Turns out nobody on The Deadline Team wants to tackle box office this weekend or any weekend. I certainly don’t blame them because it’s a thankless job. Now I’m stuck doing it on vacation through the end of this year. Glad to provide yet more hilarity for your continuing pleasure. (What’s next: a DH sitcom?)

THURSDAY 5 PM: Ask the people who calculate or cover box office regularly what they want the most, and they’ll tell you it’s to get up late on weekend mornings and get to bed early on weekend nights. We’re all sleep-deprived. I’ve been taking some banked vacation in recent weeks while still reporting and analyzing the grosses. But now I intend to take what I consider a well-deserved break from box office until the new year when my contractual obligations start again. Please don’t beat up my temporary replacements as badly as you’ve bruised me over the years. And yes, start betting that I won’t manage more than a week or two away from box office. I love how it can be so unpredictable – especially these days when tracking is meaningless. I started including box office reports on Deadline Hollywood with the goal of doing it differently. In those days, every new release was a ‘boffo hit’ in the trades. I sought to inject more truth into the analysis. I’m still in disbelief how my coverage back then and even now can cause instant dismay and certain dispute and at least debate. In fact I’m positive there’ll be a big sigh of relief around Hollywood when my byline on box office disappears for a while. Even I was surprised by this edited excerpt from the start of a 2011 Fast Company article about Disney’s film biz:

It was prime time, the main event, the first punch of a one-two summer combo — Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides and then Cars 2 – that would shape the studio’s financial fate for the year. The Pirates 4 indicators were particularly discouraging. Disney executives were counting on big revenue from 3-D screens, but ticket sales in the U.S. for such films had been flagging all spring. The reviews had not been pretty… During the afternoon of Friday, May 20, and well into the night, Disney executives emailed [then Walt Disney Studios chairman Rich] Ross and one another with the latest box-office data and anecdotal evidence. The big question on their minds was this: How would media reporters spin the opening-weekend numbers? And more specifically, what was Nikki Finke going to say on Deadline Hollywood? The most influential — and, to studio executives, terrifying — entertainment reporter in town, Finke would set the tone with the initial report on her website. As the results filtered in, Ross and his team wondered if Finke would cackle over the film’s failure to crack the magic $100 million mark in the United States.

Read More »

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Nikki Finke Live-Snarks 65th Emmys: At Least TV Isn’t As Bad As Its Awards Show

By | Sunday September 22, 2013 @ 8:14pm PDT

65th Primetime Emmy Awards
The 65th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards by the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences begins from the Nokia Theatre in Downtown LA at 5 PM PT today… Come for the cynicism… Stay for the subversion… Add your comment… Warning: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naïve:

Yes, I’m interrupting my 19 weeks of banked vacation to live-snark the small screen awards. But only because the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences was hoping I wouldn’t. Seriously, its Board members counted on my beef with my boss  to keep me away tonight. As if Hollywerrd’s Queen Of Mean would miss an opportunity to kick the crap out of the primped and pampered inmates who run this asylum. Those who will get blamed for rotten reviews of tonight’s telecast are Emmys EP Ken Ehrlich and CBS Specials & Live Programming EVP Jack Sussman. [UPDATE: "Ehrlich is protected because AEG owns the venue and he delivers the Grammys for CBS. But Moonves may fire Sussman over this debacle," says one of my sources.] Moonves attended Emmy events all week but texted the town that he’s attending his son’s birthday extravaganza and missing tonight’s awards show. Then he showed up in the opening video. Meanwhile, Emmy attendees want to watch tonight’s Dexter finale and Breaking Bad‘s Season 5 penultimate episode instead of Sir Elton John’s Liberace tribute sure to be god’s gift to kitsch. And news has leaked … Read More »

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Nikki Finke To Sharon Waxman: Just Stop It

Right now I am not going to discuss my Deadline Hollywood contract or my relationship with my boss Jay Penske. Why? Because I don’t have to. If that changes, I’ll tell you. (I also didn’t post about this imbecilic digital ad about me which my parent company ran without my knowledge in NYC’s Times Square all week during the recent TV upfronts. See below.) The fact is I’m out of town and about to begin my long-planned summer vacation. And the last thing I want is to be bothered now by a bunch of media and/or moguls asking for comment. As it happens, I was napping in a different time zone when The Wrap crapped on me yet again Sunday night. Nothing new: the desperate Sharon Waxman and her revolving door staff have been writing inaccurately about me for years, and doing it to drive traffic to her failing website, and refusing to correct even the most blatant errors. Last night Waxman sent a joint email to my boss and myself at 6:43 PM. She waited two whole minutes. Then she posted her story about us at 6:45 PM. That’s a rotten thing to do, not to mention bad journalism, and she knows it. And it’s yet one more reason I call her website The Crap. That said, I could pick apart her so-called “shocker” line by line, but I won’t. I’d much rather spend my remaining pre-vacation time writing up some great scoops to post this week. Instead, I’ll simply correct one point from her article to illustrate what a bad reporter Waxman is. Read More »

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A Personal Note On Nikki Finke From Mike Fleming

By | Sunday June 2, 2013 @ 7:46pm PDT
Mike Fleming

Earlier today, I got an urgent e-mail blast from The Wrap about Michael Douglas contracting throat cancer from cunnilingus. It was presented with the same traffic-pandering, classless urgency as similar blasts I’ve gotten from the same publication on health issues faced bravely by Angelina Jolie, again presented in an utterly sensationalized classless manner, and all based on the reporting of others. So to me, that’s The Wrap. Now, The Wrap is writing that Nikki Finke has been fired, and I don’t believe it for a moment. Nobody fires Nikki Finke. I was copied on this email that Jay Penske wrote to Wrap editrix Sharon Waxman: “Sharon, your story isn’t true and all of the ‘facts’ that you mention are completely erroneous.” As for me, I can only say this: Nikki convinced me to leave Daily Variety after 20 years, and it was the right move and I have never enjoyed collaborating with a journalist more than I have with her. I love what the reporters and editors here have built here with her guidance, it feels memorable and important, and I think we have a lot more to say and do together. Internal stuff happens from time to time and it gets worked out, despite the sensationalized reporting that amounts to wishful thinking on the part of The Wrap, which couldn’t carry Deadline’s jockstrap.

Here is an official response just sent internally:

Dear PMC Team,

As you may be aware, Sharon Waxman at TheWrap has just published a libelous, false, and defamatory

Read More »

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Nikki Finke’s Oscar Live-Snark: Four Hours Of Unfunny Seth MacFarlane; Unnecessary Michelle Obama; ‘Argo’ Wins Best Picture

By | Sunday February 24, 2013 @ 5:34pm PST

Oscars 2013 CoverageI’m live-snarking the 85th Oscars for the outstanding film achievements of 2012 starting at 5:30 PM PT tonight. Comments will open when the show starts inside the Dolby Theatre. Come for the cynicism. Stay for the subversion. Add your opinion. WARNING: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive.

To understand the Academy Awards is to understand that Tinseltown is fueled by the green-eyed monster. Envy and spite will determine the winners. Because best productions or performances have nothing to do with the 24 categories awarded tonight. The negatives, not positives, will decide this year’s Oscars. That’s par for the course in Hollywood, where nastiness rules and niceness gets rolled. How else to explain why the horrible Harvey Weinstein is trying for his 3rd straight Best Picture?

Everything in Hollywood is agenda driven. That’s why I always say, when it comes to its biggest awards, what’s important are the scars, not the Oscars. Here’s how to handicap them: just look for whomever is envied most by members of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and bet those names probably won’t get called onstage tonight. That’s why few think Steven Spielberg has any real shot at Best Director or his Lincoln at Best Picture. Of course he thinks he deserves both. But when you’ve been moviedom’s legend for seemingly forever, the Academy voters can’t wait to knock you off your pedestal. OK, I’ll say it; Hollywood actually hates … Read More »

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Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking The 64th Emmys

By | Sunday September 23, 2012 @ 5:03pm PDT

The 64th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards by the Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences began from the Nokia Theatre in Downtown LA at 5 PM PT today… Come for the cynicism… Stay for the subversion… Add your comment… Check out all our coverage…
Warning: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive.

Related: 2012 Primetime Emmy Nominees
Related: 2012 Creative Arts Emmy Winners

About the only thing nice to say about The Emmys is that at least they’re not the Oscars or Golden Globes. Mercifully, the TV voters aren’t dominated by geriatrics like the Academy Awards or con artists like the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Instead, Emmy voters suffer from self-loathing because they work in entertainment’s least respected profession. Who cares if it’s the cash cow when vidiots like Donald Trump prosper in it?

The problem with this year’s Emmys from the get-go is that they don’t have any snarky categories. I know what you’re thinking: “Whaaat? The show already is too effing long!” Now reconsider if ’TV Boobs That Jumped The Shark’ were honored. (Sofia Vergara’s.) Or ‘Best Sitcom With The Worst Lead Actress’. (My vote is for New Girl because there’s no one in primetime more annoying than Zooey Deschenal. Unless it’s the cast of Girls.)

Another problem with this year’s Emmys may be Jimmy Kimmel. He’s become a successful late night host primarily because he’s low key. But a low energy Emmy host who doesn’t sing or dance (and, … Read More »

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Deadline Advisory: Nikki Away On Vacation

By | Monday April 16, 2012 @ 6:43pm PDT

Everyone else at Deadline soon will be enjoying their summer holidays while I keep administrating and editing and reporting. Needless to say, I need to rest up now. So this past weekend I managed to sneak away for the start of some badly needed (and much delayed) R&R until May box office begins. I don’t care what Hollywood people do while I’m gone: just be sure to tell Mike, Nellie, David, Pete, Nancy, Patrick, and Kinsey about it. I’ll finish some updates tonight. Question is, after that, can I go more than a few days without posting? Gonna try.

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Thank You, ’30 Rock’ (…I Think)

By | Thursday March 1, 2012 @ 8:46pm PST

Sorry, Jack Donaghy, you’re just not my type. Because Don Draper ruined me for other men. Anyway, here’s the 30 Rock clip from tonight:

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Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking The Oscars – Welcome To Harveywood!

By | Sunday February 26, 2012 @ 5:25pm PST

Oscar Winners List 2012
Backstage At The Academy Awards
OSCARS: Who Wore What On The Red Carpet
OSCARS: Wins By Studio
OSCARS: Wins By Film
Sacha Baron Cohen Punks Ryan Seacrest: ‘The Dictator’ Spills “Kim Jong Il’s Ashes” All Over Red Carpet Host! (Ryan Unamused)

Oscars Live Commentary 2012I’m live-snarking the 84th Annual Academy Awards for the outstanding film achievements of 2011 starting at 5:30 PM PT tonight. Comments will open when the show starts inside the Kodak Theatre. Come for the cynicism. Stay for the subversion. Add your comment. WARNING: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive.

This 84th Academy Awards show is supposed to be televised to more than 225 countries worldwide. So I’m tipping all you foreigners to something that Americans already know: The Oscars suck every year! And this year the Oscars are gonna suck worse than ever! Because we all know who’s going to win the marquee categories without a single envelope being ripped open.


No one in Hollywood wanted to attend the Oscars this year. For the first time ever, instead of execs fighting for tickets, studio heads had to beg their spouses to accompany them. Why? Because the moguls and their lackeys couldn’t tolerate the prospect at sitting through the interminable telecast only to watch Harvey Weinstein gloat because he’ll win Best Picture et al for the second straight year. Everybody agrees that The Artist is a fun pic but hardly Best Picture Oscar worthy. And yet almost everybody voted for it anyway. I can’t even blame Harvey’s usual Oscar tactics (paying Academy members to fill out their ballots, redoing voters’ kitchens and bathrooms…). Hollywood only has itself to blame for Harveywood and bringing Harv back from the brink of extinction. So when he turns into a monster again, just remember that I said, “TOLDJA!”

The anti-Artist protest began as early as the Red Carpet tonight. It was summed up by Kaui Hart Hemmings, author of the book The Decendants on which the pic of the same name is based. She tweeted: The Artist people were in line in front of me, and now I smell like cigarettes and entitlement.” Bitter much?

Morgan Freeman welcomes everyone to the 84th Academy Awards.

Billy Crystal stars in a silent black and white movie. Like DUH!

Billy Crystal as Coma Woman! Full-on kiss with George Clooney. ABC just lost every Red State viewer and probably won the GOP presidential race for Rick Santorum. Seriously, Academy, you clearly don’t want families to watch, do you?

Nice touch that shtick with Billy Crystal as Sammy Davis Jr. (I forgot he did that impression.) But Crystal’s plastic surgery is so off-putting. His face looks like it was ironed — and I swear I can still see the scorch smarks.

Since only 3 people saw most of the Best Picture Oscar contenders, of course Crystal’s movie reel had to include one popular pic — Mission: Impossible 4. My guess is Tom Cruise paid for the product placement of himself. (Not even M:I4‘s ads showed the actor!)

It’s Billy’s 9th time hosting the Oscars, and he’s already bombing with his jokes. “We’re here at the beautiful Chapter 11 theatre” — reference to the fact that the Kodak Theatre is bankrupt. Two home viewers got that.

Best line: “Enjoy yourselves. Because nothing can take the sting out the world’s problems than watching millionaires present each other with golden statues.” You won’t hear a truer statement all night.

Oh god, Billy’s mincing (i.e. singing and dancing) onstage. Make it stop! He’s 63 (some say he’s really 65) and could break a hip.

Did you notice why you can’t understand the lyrics to the songs he’s singing? Because of all the Botox, he can’t move his mouth.

Billy Crystal tweeted before the show, “Opening number changed. War Horse broke his leg, had to put him down.” Funnier line than anything onstage now.

Presenter Tom Hanks loves to pretend he’s The Mayor Of Hollywood. Onstage with that beard, he looks like the boat captain on a box of frozen fishsticks. (Isn’t he in a movie about a skipper vs the Somali pirates?)

“Hugo” (Paramount) – Robert Richardson

Art Direction
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo

So about an hour before the Oscars began, show producer Brian Grazer phoned me. I think he was worried what I would say about him during my live-snarking. I assured him that I wouldn’t make him the scapegoat for the inevitably bad show. Instead, I told him that I’ll keep reminding you readers that it would have been far worse under Brett Ratner!

Grazer told me that the show’s theme tonight is to celebrate watching movies in theaters “as we rapidly ascend into VOD”. (That’s video-on-demand for civilians.) “Too many people are seeing movies alone or at home with 2-3 people. We want to celebrate the collective community experience which is my indelible memory of movies, magnified by seeing it with hundreds of people. Otherwise, it doesn’t have the same emotional impact,” Grazer told me. Exactly what about this show illusrates that?

Who wants to be in the middle of a J-Lo-Cameron Diaz sandwich? Too bad it’s wasted on the zillion men watching the Oscars. All gay, they’d rather fix both actresses’ awful hair.

Costume Design
“The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) – Mark Bridges

First mention of Harvey Weinstein so far — many more to follow. Ad nauseum.

“The Iron Lady” (The Weinstein Company) – Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland

Uh-oh, the men didn’t mention Harvey. They’ll never work again for The Weinstein Co. But no worries: everyone else in Hollywood will reward them!

These filmed vignettes were directed by Moneyball‘s Bennett Miller.

With all her money, Barbra Streisand couldn’t afford shampoo?

Hey, Adam Sandler won the most Razzies today for the worst movies of 2011 with 11 nominations for that abomination Jack & Kill. I mean, Jack & Jill.

Just remember, I’m not nasty. My fingers which do the typing are the meanies. Blame them, not me.

Sandra Bullock is great no matter what lame material she’s given. (From my peanut gallery: “Did Sandy Bullock get that outfit from the old Star Trek wardrobe? She looks like an alien ambassador.”)

Foreign Language Film
“A Separation” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Dreamlab Films Production, Iran

First movie from Iran to win the Foreign Language Oscar. This guy went through hell and back. A shoo-in because of that. Reminds us that good movies can have great cultural impact. As long as Hollywood isn’t making them.

Christian Bale is even hunkier as he ages. Go ahead and make my day and scream at me, Christian. Let me be your whipping gal.

Actress in a Supporting Role
Octavia Spencer in “The Help” (Touchstone)

Foregone conclusion and well-deserved. Spencer reveals genuine emotion which is rare for this show. “Thank you, Academy, for putting me with the hottest guy in the room… Thank you Steven Spielberg for changing my life. Thank you Stacey Snider for changing my life,” she says as tears stream down her face.

She also thanked The Help‘s writer/director Tate Taylor who changed agencies last week (from WME to CAA). I heard from a good source that he told CAA he doesn’t care what he does next “as long as it’s not a movie about pussies in pain…”

Focus group on The Wizard Of Oz? Genius concept, poor writing. But I Love the Second City/SCTV reunion. Of course, no one under the age of 55 has even heard of it… Way not to attract a younger audience, Acad.

Justin Bieber was in the opening film? I missed him. I must have thought he was one of the Disney dwarves…

Film Editing
“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall

This pair won last year for The Social Network. Obviously, the Academy gives Oscars to people who survive working with that pain-in-the-ass David Fincher.

Sound Editing
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty

Sound Mixing
“Hugo” (Paramount) – Tom Fleischman and John Midgley

Surprising that Hugo is winning so many technical awards. On the other hand, with a cost of $200+M, it probably employed every member of every craft guild in Hollywood and beyond, and they all voted for it. The Graham King Films/Paramount 3D pic has only made domestic $69.3M and foreign $46.4M for a worldwide total box office of $115.8M. In other words, it’ll never earn out.

Was that Miss Piggy or Penelope Ann Miller? They both looked like pork sausage stuffed into their dresses. And Kermit looked as green as every movie executive during the last half of 2011 when the box office was slumping badly and their bonuses were vanishing.

Why the Cirque Du Soleil segment? Was this some sweetheart deal between the Academy and the Kodak Theatre which houses the Cirque show the rest of the year? What a stretch to make this have anything to do with the movie biz. It would have been more entertaining to watch the writer’s room. Read More »

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Nikki Finke: Live-Snarking Golden Globes (…Why Ricky Gervais Stunk Tonight And How Harvey Weinstein Became God)

By | Sunday January 15, 2012 @ 9:23pm PST

Full Golden Globes Coverage:
GOLDEN GLOBES TV: Big Night For Freshmen, Pay Cable And 20th TV
Ricky Gervais Critiques His Own Performance As Golden Globes Host

Backstage At The Golden Globes
Golden Globes Studio/Network Scorecard
Golden Globes Winners List

Golden Globes Fashion: Who Wore What?

UPDATE: My live-snark of the 69th Annual Golden Globes started at 5 PM tonight based on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s 2012 nominations. Come for the cynicism. Stay for the subversion. Add your comment. Warning: Not for the easily offended or ridiculously naive.

The 2012 Golden Globes take place inside the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom at a star-studded dinner broadcast live by NBC and emceed for the 3rd time by Hollywood’s enfant terrible Ricky Gervais. Only this host can’t resist openly loathing everyone including the Hollywood Foreign Press Association putting on the show. Perhaps Christian Bale summed it up best when he took the stage last year and called the HFPA ”those oddball characters”. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the Golden Globes are completely meaningless awards bestowed by a scandal-riddled organization on a network desperate for ratings. (More on this at the end of the post…)

I only hope that Ricky Gervais can live up to his performance last year when he ensured the meanest Golden Globes on record. NBC has been hyping him as “the host we can’t control”. Considering that NBC is in dead last place again among the networks, that’s encouraging. Bring it on, Ricky, even if Hollywood and the HFPA will hate you later. The show is about to start:

Last year Ricky wanted to come out in a Nazi uniform. He chickened out this year, too. “So where was I? Nervous?,” Gervais asked the audience. Then he immediately dissed NBC and the Golden Globes themselves. “The Golden Globes are just like the Oscars — but without all that esteem.”

This is definitely toned-down Gervais. He’s obviously been muzzled or muzzled himself. What a sell-out. Making never-was Kim Kardashian jokes is beyond easy. Same with washed-up Eddie Murphy jokes about Norbit. Ricky is too chicken to go after the bonafide Hollywood stars. Doesn’t lay a glove on Adam Sandler even though the comedian just had a big film bomb. (“Eddie Murphy and Adam Sandler played all the parts in The Help.”) And arrogant asshole James Cameron jokes. (“I’ve sat through longer James Cameron acceptance speeches” than Kim Kardashian’s marriage.) Gervais pretends he’s not cowed: “The Hollywood Foreign Press warned me if I cause any controversy whatsoever they’ll invite me back next year. He reads the rules he’s been given: “No profanity, no nudity, not to libel anyone, and I mustn’t mention Mel Gibson this year and especially not Jodie Foster’s Beaver.” With that, Jodie gives the thumbs-up sign.

This is the best Gervais can do to open the show? Incredibly stale stuff. It’s going to be a loooong night…

Gervais asks Johnny Depp if he’s on recreational drugs. “Have you seen The Tourist yet?” Johnny replies, “No”. And I believe him.

“Oh, he’s fun,” Depp mutters about Gervais.


Plummer affectionately calls Ewen McGregor “that scene-stealing swine”.


Dern thanks Lucille Ball. Nice warmth.

DOWNTON ABBEY (MASTERPIECE) – PBS – A Carnival/Masterpiece Co-production

Was there any doubt that Julian Fellowes would take this home to Britain?


Oh, Kate, please stop memorizing your speeches. They lose all their spontaneity. And not a word about Joan Crawford? Shame on you… Once again, HBO bought a Globe. This mini-series was tepid at best. maudlin at worst. And not Kate’s finest hours to be sure.

Really, I can’t believe how sanitized the opening half-hour of the Golden Globes has been. What happened to all the danger NBC was hyping by having Gervais host again? Real disappointment. Step it up, Ricky, or you’re yesterday’s news.

Jakes Gyllenhaal looks good out of the Witness Protection Program that has become his thwarted career.

“We’re already 5 minutes over. That’s your fault,’ Gervais says to the audience. “Keep your speeches short. Thank God and your agent. I know for a fact that God and my agent have had exactly the same input in my career.” This stuff isn’t even amateur night at the Improv stand-up worthy.


Kelsey thanks Starz boss Chris Albrecht for his “balls” for ordering the show without pilot or all 8 episodes. I think Kelsey won for his performance pretending to still love his soon-to-be ex-wife Camille on Bravo’s The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills.

SHOWTIME Presents, Teakwood Lane Productions, Cherry Pie Productions, Keshet, Fox 21

Well the HFPA morons get at least one award right. Homeland was the best TV I’ve seen in a long, long time. Claire Danes was transformative. Damien Lewis even better than in Band Of Brothers. Mandy Patinkin not annoying like he usually is. Granted, it’s a remake of an Israeli show. But I’d follow 24‘s Howard Gordon anywhere that terrorism takes him.

What was Jimmy Fallon doing. Anybody? ANYBODY? Jimmy, stop trying so hard. At least you didn’t come out with your guitar. Calm down, sit tight, and in a year you’ll get Jay Leno’s The Tonight Show. Whether you deserve it or not. Might think about adjusting your meds, meanwhile.

This French guy from The Artist is really Bernie Rosenberg from The Bronx. He just doesn’t know it. But Harvey Weinstein does…

Music & Lyrics by: Madonna, Julie Frost, Jimmy Harry

You honestly thought the HFPA had Madonna in its audience and wouldn’t give her an award? Oh you naive people. Granted the song is pretty good. But this was bought and paid for by everyone concerned. Meanwhile, could Madonna be more irritating? Between that fake British accent and her fake humility, she’s the reason why Lady Gaga is doing a more real Madonna imitation now.


Considering that Tyler Perry stole Elba’s Alex Cross role, this is small comfort indeed for Idris. Really, Tyler, stick to cross-dressing in your movies and holding Oprah’s handbag the rest of the time.

Seth Rogan: “I am currently trying to conceal a massive erection.” Don’t believe it’s because he’s standing next to Kate Beckinsale. It’s because he actually has an audience watching him right now since few people go to his movies anymore.


What a triumphant night for The Weinstein Company. (I just threw up in my mouth a little when I wrote that.) Will there be an Oscar backlash? The ‘Stop Harv’ line starts right outside the DreamWorks office (War Horse) or GK Films headquarters (Hugo). No wonder Scott Rudin is laying low this year.

Hey, if I want to see a boring awards show, I can watch the Oscars. Someone get the real Ricky Gervais onstage — and quick.

Piper Perabo and Sarah Michelle Gellar come out wearing two of the worst dresses I’ve ever seen. One looks like a Mildred Pierce bedspread. And the other looks like Wicked‘s good witch castoff. Trust me: inappropriate ballgowns on young women will never be chic.


Nice touch that even Dinklage’s own mother thought Guy Pearce would win for Mildred Pierce. I think Pearce is among the most underrated actors working today. And he was wasted in that HBO mini-series which gave him hardly anything to do. The film role was so much juicier.

I’m truly embarrassed for Ricky Gervais that he felt the need to blow so much smoke up George Clooney’s ass. It’s as if Ricky is playing a part of a host instead of actually taking control of the podium. Someone must have read him the riot act for him to remain so tame. He’s killing his career right now. If Hollywood’s enfant terrible is meek and mild, no one will care about him anymore. Bye-bye Ricky…

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN – Paramount/Columbia/Hemisphere Capital/Amblin/Wingnut Films/Kennedy/Marshall Production

Steven Spielberg gets his moment solo because Peter Jackson is back in New Zealand making The Hobbit. “I want to thank Brad Grey for his courage,” Spielberg says. Hilarious, considering that Steven et al at DreamWorks did everything they could to get Grey fired when Paramount owned them. Who has the last laugh now? Actually both men. Doing well is the best revenge. Unless Reliance pulls the plug on DreamWorks 2.0.


No Woody. Not even a taped piece from NYC. Long sigh… Read More »

Comments 209

Thank You, ‘Gossip Girl’

By | Monday October 24, 2011 @ 9:15pm PDT

Deadline Hollywood in the last coupla years has received shout-outs on a growing number of TV shows like American Idol, Californication, even a multi-episode storyline on Entourage. But tonight I can die happy: The CW’s Gossip Girl gave a shout-out to Deadline and to me. (Serena leaked a story to Deadline in an effort to secure film rights to Dan’s semi-autobiographical novel.) You high-brow types can keep your Boardwalk Empire: I’ve enjoyed every low-brow episode of Gossip Girl since it debuted. Now if only Chuck and Blair can get back together…

Comments 71

Nikki Finke & Bryan Lourd, Together In Song

By | Thursday September 29, 2011 @ 9:43am PDT
Mike Fleming

Hey Morgan!, the Matt Shakman-directed musical that opens at the Black Dahlia Theatre in Los Angeles on October 15, has released a sample song (audio below) that conveys a real insider’s take on the Hollywood agency game. The song, “(I Gave My Heart To) CAA”, is a catchy tune from the show that captures the frustration of a young woman’s attempt to rise to the rank of agent. Written by Matt Fogel and Isaac Laskin, the song drips with sarcasm. But how can you not like a tune that works the names of Nikki Finke and Bryan Lourd into its lyrics? But call a fact checker – because the heroine sings of wanting to be an agent at CAA so she could rep Michael Bay. Of course, Bay is repped by WME, but that doesn’t rhyme.

Comments 28

The Truth Hurts The Hollywood Reporter…

By | Friday September 9, 2011 @ 4:08pm PDT

Today my parent company boss received a letter from lawyers for Prometheus Global Media, the owner of The Hollywood Reporter, claiming “it has come to our client’s attention that your employee, Nikki Finke of, is now engaged in conduct on your behalf that crosses the line from her usual bad behavior to a concerted and unlawful attempt to disrupt THR’s business. In an effort to gain a competitive advantage for, Ms. Finke falsely has told THR advertisers and others in the Hollywood community that THR is experiencing financial problems [sic] will cause it to make massive layoffs, end its print edition and/or go out of business, or be sold by Prometheus.” I’m also accused of harrassing THR staff such as ”emailing one employee with the threat of ‘humiliating’ him…” The lawyers then emailed me.

Here was my response (which my boss wants me to share with you):

To: Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, NYC

You can stick this letter up your asses if you think you can intimidate me as a journalist who has spent months now reporting and preparing an article about The Hollywood Reporter which I plan to publish very soon. If anything I have been very circumspect about informing Hollywood about the truth regarding THR. Because the truth hurts:

– This week THR laid off/fired more staffers in addition to the other staffers laid off/fired this summer alone.

– I have contacted THR staffers only when they claim ‘exclusives’ that aren’t (because Deadline had the true earlier ‘exclusive’) or when THR staffers steal Deadline content (our exclusives with no reference or link). [See cease and desist letter which Deadline sent to THR on February 25th, 2011.] I have been warning other reporters and other media outlets about this as well. Which is why I plan to start “naming names” of reporters who slap their bylines on Deadline’s exclusive information. They deserve humiliation for it.

– In the case of the staffer you refer to, he admitted he was wrong and changed his copy after I contacted him.

– THR’s investors have complained publicly about how much red ink The Hollywood Reporter is hemorrhaging.

– THR’s management have complained publicly about problems with ad sales staff and cash reserves.

– THR staff keep calling me and asking for jobs saying they are worried about The Hollywood Reporter’s future.

– THR keeps coming after Deadline’s staff to hire them “with a blank check” even though we have contracts.

– Prometheus just removed its CEO Richard Beckman.

– Your own publisher Lynne Segall shared with me multiple reports about how much red ink The Hollywood Reporter has been hemorrhaging, how much ad sales it was losing, and other negative information. She also went into the marketplace on a daily basis sharing this info with Hollywood showing Deadline was the superior buy.

– Guggenheim’s Todd Boehly slandered me to Bloomberg/Business Week. You should also be aware that he in the past exhibited extremely inappropriate behavior towards me when he was offering me the THR editorship.

– Prometheus’ Richard Beckman slandered me in the pages of THR and in multiple interviews and emails.

– Prometheus’ Beckman and THR’s Janice Min have slandered me to multiple journalists.

– THR’s Matt Belloni wrote a slanderous email about me which he circulated widely around Hollywood.

– Comparing Deadline To THR in terms of editorial quality or traffic numbers is like comparing The Economist to The National Enquirer. Deadline is an elite business trade about film and TV that does not cover celebrities. Beckman himself banned his staff from using the word “trade” to describe THR which has a gossip editor running it and not a veteran business journalist. For this reason, THR’s multiple house ads slandering Deadline are misleading, false, and intended to harm us in the marketplace. As is the case with all of the above, including this letter you just sent me.

Now get the fuck out of my face.

Read More »

Comments 134

Deadline Advisory: Nikki Coming Back

By | Thursday March 10, 2011 @ 9:58am PST

I’ve been ill and will return slowly return to work starting today. I’ve appreciated all the flowers, chicken soup, and gummy vitamins for adults.

Comments (14)

ADVISORY: Live-Snarking The 83rd Oscars

By | Saturday February 26, 2011 @ 6:29am PST

Comments (15)
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