"VARIETY" ATTACKS NIKKI FINKE ONLY TO MAKE HER STRONGER...
NIKKI FINKE: "VARIETY" ORDERED THREE HIT PIECES AT ME AFTER FAILING ATTEMPT TO BUY DEADLINEHOLLYWOODDAILY.COM
Since I did not sign a non-disclosure agreement, I am free to tell Hollywood the following: On February 27th, Neil Stiles, the president and publisher of Variety Group, called me saying Reed Business Information CEO Tad Smith was pushing him to discuss an acquisition of my site.
Stiles and I had spoken quite a bit about Variety's cutbacks and layoffs. I'd joked with him on several occasions that RBI should buy me because I was beating the trades on so many stories. But on this day, according to my informal notes from the conversation, Stiles admitted that his company had done a survey only to find that DHD was a bigger showbiz destination site on the Internet than Variety. He also noted that Variety was embarrassed when the trade publication missed the Peter-Chernin-resigning-from-News Corp story which I had broken a few days earlier. (It took Variety several hours to get online with a matching story...) Stiles' idea was that I would remain independent, but Variety would own DHD and link to my scoops, etc. The one wrinkle he cited was that RBI's parent is getting a new CEO and it might be a while before new deals were consummated.
I can't discuss my end of the conversation (because of non-disclosure agreements I have with other interested parties). But, within a couple of days, the idea of Variety owning DHD was dead. I later learned that the trade publication's editor Peter Bart was not consulted by his overlords about the overture. Instead, he heard about it third-hand. (When axed staffer Anne Thompson wrote something nasty about me on her blog, still carried by Variety, I blurted out, "Anne, the same place that fired you is trying to buy me." Thompson immediately spilled the news to members of the Variety newsroom.)