Morning Media Newsfeed: Uproar Over Nikki Finke | Blitzer Rumors Swirl | Xanga Shutting Down

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Speculation Swirls Around Nikki Finke’s Future at Deadline Hollywood (LA Times)
Deadline Hollywood founder Nikki Finke is famous for breaking news on the entertainment industry. But on Sunday night the hot Hollywood gossip was being reported not by her but about her. Speculation about Finke’s future at Deadline Hollywood heated up after rival online publication TheWrap reported that Finke was dismissed from her position after clashing with Jay Penske, the chief executive of Penske Media Corp., or PMC, which owns Deadline Hollywood. Deadline Hollywood Here is an official response just sent internally: “This is a complete fabrication, with not an ounce of truth to it. Just to be clear, Nikki Finke has a multi-year contract with the company, and it is the company’s absolute intention to continue its obligations under the agreement. It is sad when a rival business feels the need to fabricate stories to create traffic and notoriety. Due to the defamatory and disparaging nature of some of the completely inaccurate statements made by Waxman, PMC has turned this matter over to our attorneys.” TheWrap / WaxWord Penske emailed TheWrap to say: “Sharon, your story isn’t true and all of the “facts” that you mention are completely erroneous.” When asked repeatedly if Finke was in fact leaving Deadline, he did not respond. Finke did not return an email or call seeking comment. BuzzFeed Let’s assume, though, that it’s the beginning of the end for Nikki’s Deadline. Penske isn’t going to stop owning Variety — reportedly the most recent cause of their friction, since he’s shut her out of having anything to do with it — and I’ve heard from multiple people that her contract is up soon. (TheWrap’s Sharon Waxman reported that it expires next year.) Penske knew he bought crazy, but he may just be sick of it at this point. FishbowlLA Waxman’s report has shot “Nikki Finke” onto Twitter’s Los Angeles Trends chart. All we know for sure right now is that the Deadline doyenne’s current contract ends in 2014. Anything else, including the idea that a removal or exit of Finke is a prelude to Penske folding Deadline into Variety, is pure speculation.

Sources Say Viewers Will See Less of Blitzer; More of Younger, Hunkier Newsmen (New York Daily News / Confidential)
He doesn’t know it Yet, but the CNN staff is whispering that Wolf Blitzer’s air time may be getting shorter and shorter. The struggling cable channel plans to make lots of changes as it tries to win back viewers it has lost, with the biggest shakeup being to on-air talent, including Blitzer, host of The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer. “Wolf is going to be gradually phased out and replaced with a younger, hipper host,” one CNN insider dishes to Confidential. “The decision has been made that people want to look at beautiful people, and although Wolf is no beast, they’re thinking younger.” TVNewser The Daily News’s gossip item about Blitzer contradicts current reality, a CNN spokesperson says. The spokesperson tells us, “The ‘CNN insider’ must not be watching CNN air. Wolf has been anchoring additional hours as of late.”

Xanga Is Shutting Down
Let’s feel nostalgic for 45 seconds or so: Xanga, the LiveJournal/MySpace hybrid that once boasted 30 million active users but never quite managed to capture enough weepy teenage hearts, is on the brink of death and begging for money. Unless the service — a relic of an older, poorly designed era of the Web — raises $60,000 from its own scant users by July 15, it’ll shutter forever. It almost certainly won’t. The Verge While the team could try to revamp the site or sell to a larger platform, they’re realistic about their prospects. “The thing is, it’s really hard to grow a social site that has fallen from previous heights. MySpace, Friendster, LiveJournal… lots of people have tried to resurrect these sites, and it has rarely, if ever, worked.”