Ravi Somaiya Pays a Visit to Nikki Finke

The famed Hollywood journalist allows the NYT to get up close and personal.

If nothing else, the exit of Nikki Finke from the Hollywood trade trenches in favor of writing and curating meaningful fiction about The Town Where Assistants Never Sleep has mercifully tamped down the endless speculation about her countenance. The new photo is out there, the over/under on cats is no longer an active betting line and an in-person visit from a New York Times reporter is possible.

From the top of Ravi Somaiya’s West Hollywood house call:

If Nikki Finke had not been a journalist, she says she could have been a detective. The police in New York, where she reported decades ago, used to show her “these gruesome homicide photos,” she said, to try to freak her out. Instead she found them fascinating.

The memory came up on a recent day in Ms. Finke’s obsessively tidy apartment, overlooking a swath of the city from West Hollywood toward the airport. Her stomach for the unsavory side of the business was never in question as she built her reputation as perhaps the most feared reporter in Hollywood.

Finke wouldn’t talk about her settlement agreement with Jay Penske, but Somaiya suggests it bars the 61-year-old journalist from any online coverage of The Industry until she is around 71. That should leave more than enough time to mount a west coast version of what Dorothy Parker once used to survey at the Algonquin. Per some other candid personal details provided to Somaiya, Finke is also well rested.