Nikki Finke Cranks Out Her Best New Story Yet

Why did Nikki Finke return to the Internet airwaves, under threat of litigation from her former boss Jay Penske? So she could continue sharing stories like this one.

Finke’s behind-the-scenes account of what led to this week’s forced exit of Sony Pictures Entertainment vice chairman Jeff Blake (pictured) expertly triangulates his fate with the politics of a conglomerated studio lot, the machinations of Dan Loeb and the actions of Blake’s scrambling, fearful bosses (Amy Pascal, Michael Lynton). It’s a must-read and, best of all, is only Part One.

Finke reveals that Blake was almost scapegoat-fired last summer following a secret July 4 meeting. She notes that when it all, almost came crashing down last year, Blake, a longtime box office source, shared an unusual request:

I loathe those calls I sometimes have to make telling Hollywood bigwigs they’re in danger of getting axed. To my surprise, Blake verbally shrugged it off except to say “Water rising here”.

But he also asked for a favor, something he’d never done in all the years I’d known him: to “take a beat” before writing about the studio and him at least until after Elysium opened on August 9th. Rightly or wrongly, I agreed.

Early reader comments are full of praise for this Finke article. Like a number of these readers, we also can’t wait for Part Two:

Anonymous: Best entertainment article I’ve read in 2014 by a country mile. Thanks Nikki, you are, in my book, officially back.

Sony Stooge: This is what Nikki does better than any other showbiz reporter. She reports the ugly truth and provides facts with her snark and cynicism. Amy is a spoiled brat she’s always been a diva and a selfish bitch and she should have been fired a year ago. Michael is a putz and for them to blame marketing is disgraceful…

Anonymous: This article is exceptional. The kind of thought-out business reporting young writers only interested in breaking casting news should learn from…

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.