Nikki Finke dead at 68, journalist founds Deadline

Finke turned her LA Weekly column into a website that made her one of Hollywood’s most feared journalists.

Nikki Finke, the longtime entertainment journalist who reshaped the business of reporting Hollywood, has died at the age of 68 after a long battle with an unknown illness. The news was confirmed by Deadline, the publication she founded.

After early stints at the Associated Press, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Observer, Finke rose to prominence when she started her Deadline Hollywood column for LA Weekly in 2002. The column featured Finke’s distinctive voice and unabashed coverage of Hollywood’s most powerful figures and a willingness to break industry norms. Finke eventually spun off the column into a blog first known as Deadline Hollywood Daily and later shortened to Deadline Hollywood, which allowed her to publish stories without the rigidity of a scheduled column.

Deadline soon became one of Hollywood’s most widely read publications, with readers relying on Finke’s well-placed sources and sarcastic comments. Finke was one of the most prominent voices covering the 2008 WGA strike; Her in-depth reporting, willingness to critique top executives, and relationships with conspicuous writers led to increased Deadline visibility.

“I never meant to be mean,” Finke wrote in 2016. “It just flowed through my typing fingers, to my laptop keyboard, to the website. I grew angry when I witnessed the powerful dealing with the powerless, a constant theme throughout my long journalistic career as an international and national correspondent. So I had no interest in becoming an extension of the Hollywood advertising machine.”

Deadline was acquired in 2009 by Penske Media Corporation, IndieWire’s parent company. Finke stayed with Deadline until 2013. In 2015, she launched, a website dedicated to fictional stories about the film industry written by various entertainment journalists and insiders. In 2017 she returned to Penske Media Corporation.

“At her best, Nikki Finke embodied the spirit of journalism and was never afraid to speak the hard truths with a succinct style and an enigmatic spark,” said Jay Penske, founder, chairman and CEO of Penske Media Corporation. “She was cheeky and true. It was never easy with Nikki, but she will always be one of the most memorable people in my life.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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