The latest scoop on Nikki Finke's blog has nothing to do with studio mergers or secret conversations or any of the other news items that have made the journalist infamous in Hollywood.
The news? "Nikki Finke will announce her next career plans very soon. Please be patient and stay tuned …"
The unfamiliar quiet of the Web site followed the appearance of NikkiStink.com, which began publishing photos of Finke and threatened that they would publish far more than that unless Finke stopped producing her special brand of news, which is never properly served unless garnished with a "TOLDJA" and then promptly re-served by Gawker, which counts Finke as one of its favorite Internet people to make fun of. Now, it seems, Finke might be planning something new as she finishes up a book on the entertainment industry.
And the chattering classes seem to think she's headed to D.C.
Think rumors are true @NikkiFinke might turn her attention to covering DC? Check out the latest ppl she's followed on Twitter.— Mark Halperin (@MarkHalperin) August 31, 2014
I adore you @NikkiFinke and DC needs you. Go make a mess of those fine Americans.— LyleDerek (@LyleDerek) August 31, 2014
I look forward to @nikkifinke terrorizing members of Congress when she brings her blog to DC. Like the offspring of Winchell and Pearson!— Jack Shafer (@jackshafer) August 28, 2014
President Obama has a strategy. He just didn't want to announce @NikkiFinke's role as his peace ambassador until she was ready.— Jack Shafer (@jackshafer) August 29, 2014
Esteemed @jackshafer thinks I should "pack up my act and bring it to DC". Others saying the same thing. Should I?— Nikki Finke (@NikkiFinke) August 28, 2014
We don't know where Finke will go next yet (the New York Times reports she has also been talking to Vanity Fair), but there are odder places for Finke, who Tad Friend at the New Yorker once called "a combination town crier and volcano god."
Finke's career actually began on Capitol Hill, where she worked for the late Rep. Ed Koch. When he later became mayor of New York City, Finke, then a reporter for the Associated Press, covered his campaign. More than 40 years later, the New York Observer asked Koch whether he remembered Finke. He did, but had no idea that she had become kind of a big deal.
"Isn’t that nice?" he responded.
Finke told the Observer that seeing the access reporters got to Koch made her want to be one. "I wasn’t really thinking about journalism, but when I saw the way Ed and his staff would genuflect to journalists, I went, ‘Oh, I want to do that.' You know, the minute a journalist called him, he jumped on the phone.”
She also covered Moscow for the AP — she wrote about jeans, Reagan, Siberian ice picnics, Americans voting abroad, as well as "Moscow's version of the Pillsbury Bake-Off"— before moving to Newsweek. There, she shared bylines with Howard Fineman, Jonathan Alter, Eleanor Clift and Walter Shapiro.
At Newsweek, they wrote about Gary Hart, yuppies voting for Gary Hart, contests "for the soul of the party itself," the corporations who had a grand time at Reagan's second inauguration, D.C. "security chic," the "Bob and Elizabeth" ABC sitcom that should have been ("witty small-town Kansas war hero and brainy North Carolina ex-May Queen share romance and Republicanism in the nation's Capital") and big donors complaining about access.
When she moved to the Los Angeles Times, where she began to write more about Hollywood, she also wrote about the 1988 presidential election — or at least shared Hunter S. Thompson's predictions. Ted Kennedy did not beat Bob Dole that year.
It doesn't look like Finke would have to do much homework if she did decide to follow the suggestions offered by Twitter (although she should perhaps forget about that genuflecting she remembered so fondly). Not that she ever really left; some of the donors who appear near the top of the Center for Responsive Politics' list of political contributors also frequent Finke's stories. A story concerning the Motion Picture Association of America gave her the opportunity to call its new head, former senator Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), an "out-of-work congressional blowhard."
In 2009, Finke told David Carr: “I really don’t see covering Hollywood as all that different from covering the Kremlin or the federal government. I’m always fascinated by closed societies that don’t want prying eyes.”
Watch out, federal government.