In reporting that his employer Penske Media has now acquired his former journalism home at Variety, Deadline film editor Michael Fleming took a moment for some personal words. It will all be OK, he seems to want to tell his old friends. Sample:
I’ve thought a lot about the possibility this deal would close and I’m sure my former colleagues and the newer staff there will be understandably apprehensive. This is a bit jarring for me. I spent 20 years writing columns and covering the film business for Daily and Weekly Variety before moving to Deadline. I am relieved to see the publication get an opportunity to be reinvigorated. I would be surprised, for instance, if Variety continues behind a pay wall, or continues to exist in its current form as a daily and weekly print publication.
I’m sure there will be a significant readjustment period for everyone as Variety is redefined, and some of that will undoubtedly involve creating a leaner, more efficient operation. As I learned quickly when I moved to Deadline, being change-able in the digital age can lead to good things. I still shake my head when I think about how many years I spent gathering information, writing stories and turning them in at day’s end to Variety editors, so that we could tell you tomorrow what we knew today.
Even before Nikki Finke created Deadline and changed the game by telling unvarnished truths quickly and with attitude and savvy, our system had already made it very hard to surprise the industry reading audience, even after we added a website. I was a print snob who tried to nest on my exclusives and who thought trees had to die for me to be relevant. Nikki proved that a fallacy by building a dominant brand from the ground without killing a single tree. Too often, she would kick my butt up and down Wilshire Blvd by moving faster than I ever could at Variety.
I don’t like change, but I also didn’t like the feeling of sand shifting under my feet. I felt reinvigorated from the first day I arrived here....
This morning at LA Biz Observed: Variety sold to Deadline owner
Added: No comment yet from Finke, who is not mentioned in the Penske Media news release. Rival site The Wrap, which has exchanged insults with Finke through the years, has this to say:
Insiders had told TheWrap that tension had arisen between Penske Media Chairman and CEO Jay Penske and Finke because he would not give her a role running the trade.
"She's having a major tantrum because he won't give her the keys," one of those insiders told TheWrap.