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January 11, 2010

Nikki Finke snags ‘Variety’ veteran Mike Fleming for ‘Deadline Hollywood’ expansion

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/nikki_finke_snags_variety_veteran_michael_fleming_20100110/

Nikki Finke, the founding editor of “Deadline Hollywood” whom many consider the industry’s reigning queen of Hollywood journalism is rolling out plans for a major expansion.

First came the announcement that Tim Adler, a veteran UK entertainment business journalist, would help launch Deadline|London which will go live later this month at Deadline.com.

But even bigger news came a few moments later when Finke announced through her listserv that Mike Fleming, Variety’s “superstar” film reporter will leave his 20 year post at the trade to edit Deadline New York.

Finke said she was “thrilled and honored” that Fleming agreed to come on board and even admitted the two had been “fierce competitors.” In a statement generated by Mail.com Media Corporation, the company that purchased Deadline Hollywood for an undisclosed sum last July, Finke said she and Fleming have (secretly?) been friends for close to 20 years.

“I was a devoted reader of his old ‘Buzz’ column for Weekly Variety, and then addicted to his former ‘Dish’ column for Daily Variety,” Finke said.

It can’t be easy for Fleming to leave the Variety throne he’s been sitting on for two decades, but he seems to be doing so in good spirit.

“I treasure my 20 years with Variety and my mentor Peter Bart and my editor Tim Gray. It changed my life. But the time has come for this new challenge. I thank my Variety readers for staying with me all this time, and I hope they follow me to Deadline|NewYork.”

The unfortunate thing, of course, is that we may never discover what went on when Variety found out their arch rival would steal their “crown jewel” because the person who would report that news is undoubtedly Nikki Finke.

More on Fleming’s move:

With the hiring of top journalism talents Mike Fleming to run Deadline|NewYork, and Tim Adler to run Deadline|London (announced this morning), Deadline.com now enters its next phase of editorial and geographic expansion. Finke will remain Deadline.com’s general manager and editor in chief, and editor and founder of Deadline|Hollywood. But Fleming’s ability to consistently deliver high-profile scoops and provide on-the-spot analysis will help make Deadline.com a “must-read” for influencers and leaders in the global business of entertainment and media.

Variety’s preeminent reporter also fits perfectly with the Deadline.com tradition of shattering the mold of traditional reporting and creating a new paradigm for delivering news, analysis, and opinion with New Media immediacy. Hiring Variety’s “crown jewel” of original content demonstrates MMC’s commitment to rapid growth as one of the most dynamic companies to watch in the digital media arena.

This month marks Mike Fleming’s 20th year as a Variety reporter and writer. A native of New York City and now resident of Long Island, he started in journalism as editor of the well-known Media Industry Newsletter (MIN), then joined New York Newsday as a columnist and reviewer and entertainment writer in 1986. He joined Weekly Variety in 2000 to write the “Buzz” column about all things infotainment. Later, he took over Daily Variety’s “Dish” column where he regularly broke news and provided analysis about all things Hollywood. After the column was discontinued, Fleming became even more recognized as the trade’s No. 1 film reporter whose major talents include working sources and writing with flair and accuracy. That’s why his original content receives international attention and acclaim. In summer 2009, he began the “BFD” blog with his longtime mentor Peter Bart.

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