Is Deadline Hollywood Watered Down?

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Even though they’re incredibly seasoned reporters, and their recent departures were huge losses for Variety and The Hollywood Reporter respectively, are Mike Fleming and Nellie Andreeva good for Deadline Hollywood?

Variety’s Brian Lowry doesn’t think so:

Although I’m a fan of Mike Fleming and Nellie Andreeva — Finke’s two recent hires for her Deadline.com site — I’m increasingly convinced that adding other voices to the mix is doing little more than watering down Finke’s franchise.

What made Deadline work is Finke’s relentlessness, her pit-bull, take-no-prisoners approach to every story. In her world, there are good guys and bad guys (mostly the latter), with no room for shades of gray, and she found a fertile niche as the voice of discontent in Hollywood. The writers’ strike played perfectly to these strengths, allowing her to position herself as an alternative to the traditional media (the trades, the Los Angeles Times, etc.), who were deemed to be “in the pockets” of the studios. Finke has been to entertainment journalism what Fox News and talkradio have been to major newspapers — an alternative to the “lamestream media,” catering to a base that felt disenfranchised and, in some instances, angry….

Now, however, Deadline feels like a seriously diluted product. Fleming and Andreeva are experienced reporters, and as such they clearly aren’t comfortable going for the jugular with every item. They’re too well-schooled, frankly, to not at least try to be fair most of the time.

No response from Nikke Finke yet — despite Lowry’s prognostications of a coming Finke “shitstorm” over his column. Given Variety’s shrinking influence and online numbers, something tells us Finke isn’t going to play along and give Lowry the traffic he’s looking for. But we’re not going to bet on it.

H/T LA Observed