Nikki Jean Finke (born 1953) is an American journalist and blogger. She writes a Hollywood and media business newspaper column for LA Weekly and is founder and editor in chief and general manager of Deadline.com, a website with original content consisting of her reporting and commentary on the business of the entertainment industry formerly known as Deadline Hollywood Daily. Finke has been called the "most feared, despised, and uncompromising journalist in Hollywood."
Finke was raised on Long Island in New York, where she attended Buckley Country Day School and the Hewitt School. She graduated from Wellesley College.
She worked in Washington D.C. for New York congressman Ed Koch, before joining the Associated Press (AP). She worked for the AP in Baltimore, Boston, the foreign desk at the New York City headquarters, 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. She appears occasionally on radio and television commenting about the entertainment and media business.
Finke began writing her LA Weekly column "Deadline Hollywood" in June 2002, 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 writer and editor of the website.
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 she was accused of retroactively altering a Deadline Hollywood Daily report about the director of the third Twilight film.
Finke had a 14-year relationship with Jeffrey W. Greenberg, getting engaged in 1974 and married in 1980.They divorced in 1982.