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David Poland

By David Poland

Mystery Solved?

Nikkiologists at NBC/Univeral have been trying to figure out exactly who was using Nikki Finke to tear down Ben Silverman and Jeff Zucker with the nastiest gossip (and why) for the last year-plus. There have been many theories, but little proof.
This morning, as Nikki melted down (a network head is fired and her headline is, “So Why Did NBCU Lie About This To Me?”) trying to take ownership of a story that she (via her sponsor) has been out front of but then got scooped on when the action finally happened – by both Variety and Ryan Seacrest’s Twitter account – she may well have outed her primary source for all things anti-NBC/U. And the winner is, Marc Graboff.
Of course, when things settle down, Nikki will count Ben Silverman as one of her “Nazi scalps.” But will her operator, Mr. Graboff, pay the price… especially now that he didn’t get the big promotion and Nikki has outed him as her ally? Will Ron Meyer, in turn, have to take one of his “time outs” from feeding her? It will be interesting.
Fact is, whether I like it or not, Nikki is the Niche Winchell in this tiny little world of show business insiders. She lies often, gets it wrong almost as often, but always thinks she is truthful and right. And I do believe that she really does believe that. Such is the nature of the sociopath.
The glory of the professional, morality-free gossip is that burnt bridges mean little, since there is always someone else there with a can of gas and some matches to hand you… since you are so happy to take it, spread it, and light it. But this is a small town. And when the gossip is too exposed – when everyone is paying attention – the dynamics of how people use gossips change. The price of getting caught feeding the monster gets higher and higher.
The advantage that Winchell had – aside from an era with a slower news cycle – is that he had a national consumer platform. His smears really could damage the public image of talent. Not so much Nikki. She is more the ugly mean girl with money in showbiz high school. And I don’t mean that as a comment on Nikki’s looks. She is a perfectly nice looking woman. What I mean to say is that she is the kind of mean girl who uses the power she gathers from someone else’s power (in high school, her parents’ money… in Hollywood, targeted information from powerful people) to feel better about herself by hurting others and feeling powerful in her own right as a result. And the people who gather to feed this manipulation? Weasels. Every one. Unless it is your job to service someone else’s bad behavior – in which case, you have my sympathy – if you feed the cycle, all the while snickering about how you can control The Nikki, you are a small as the tool you use.
Are we seeing the beginning of the end? Not the end

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11 Responses to “Mystery Solved?”

  1. bmcintire says:

    I just finished wading through her FIVE-PART piece on the Silverman fiasco. You weren’t kidding.
    Part of me wants to believe that she was kept in the dark for the personal satisfaction of denying her one of those cringe-inducing “TOLDJA” headlines she fires off so frequently.
    That was a nicely written pound of flesh, by the way.

  2. Biscuits says:

    Okay, your headline for this entry is “MYSTERY SOLVED?” Your lead is two paragraphs discussing how Finke may have “outed her primary source”… and then you proceed to write 14 more paragraphs attacking her without giving one shred of evidence or one logical explanation on how exactly you’ve come to the conclusion that Graboff is that source. Then you turn this story about her into a story about you (“if that was the attention I wanted, I would be doing what gets that kind of attention”) and your moral and ethical superiority to her.
    Is this like a meta-level joke here? Can you not see the substandard journalistic parallels between this entry and most of Finke’s stuff?
    Poland. Can you not see that Finke is your very own Ben Silverman? Can you not see that you are stooping to her level, and the reason the “you’re jealous” comments are indeed inevitable are because your obsession with her is so transparent and your rage is so thinly veiled that its the only logical explanation?
    Because for the rest of us… this is getting ridiculous. And embarrassing.

  3. boltbucket says:

    “She lies often, gets it wrong almost as often, but always thinks she is truthful and right. And I do believe that she really does believe that. Such is the nature of the sociopath.”
    Physician, heal thyself.

  4. bmcintire says:

    Correction – SEVEN part piece on Silverman.

  5. David Poland says:

    As usual, the flying monkeys show up for only one cause… the defense of Nikki.
    Haven’t you two (?) seen the end of the movie?

  6. I’m really looking forward to that New Yorker piece, if only to see some heavier hits than Carr had to offer.

  7. Biscuits says:

    I’m not quite sure how you can misconstrue what I wrote as a defense of Nikki — I called her journalism substandard and said you’re stooping to her level. The post is pretty plainly an indictment of you… wanna bother defending yourself and your own blatantly irresponsible journalism (indicting Graboff as her source without any proof whatsoever)? Or would you rather just glibly shrug it off?

  8. boltbucket says:

    “Or would you rather just glibly shrug it off?”
    You must be new around here. That is the only way Poland ever responds to direct criticism.
    But for the record, I was just pointing out yet another example of David’s gross hypocrisy. I wasn’t defending that loon Finke. I can’t stand reading that website. The Hot Blog, I still tolerate.

  9. Isn’t the proof about Graboff that he didn’t get the promotion that he and Nikki expected, hence, they were both out of the loop?
    Or did I mist misconstrue that since I haven’t particularly been following the Finke stuff.

  10. Biscuits says:

    Remind me not to serve on a jury with you, because we have a very different definition of the word proof.
    Now is Poland ever going to stop back by here and give us his definition?

  11. jennab says:

    Dave, gotta agree with Biscuits on this one. Nikki is the new Harry, and your CONSTANT whining about AICN visiting sets and violating embargoes drove me away for a very long time. Please…let us make our own judgments about DHD…and Waxman while you’re at it. Quietly go about doing what you do best: your analysis of the business of film and even your reviews!

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon