By David Poland email@example.com
CNN: Nikki & Tom – Hollywood’s Sigfreid & Roy
Yeah, I’m sick of Nikki too.
THIS MONTH IN NIKKI
1. Fake picture.
2. Real high school picture
3. Cease & Desist
4. HBO passes on Tilda (which would have been the most generous presentation possible of her and made Nikki much more sympathetic and potentially, powerful).
5. Return to running an Oscar show rundown
6. Credentials revoked
Just for the record, out of maybe 100 people i talked to at the Indie Spirit Awards today, 2 brought up Nikki and the 5 stories prior to today. It’s not all anyone can talk about, by any stretch. But for me, it’s an open-ended story.
On the credentials thing… I wish this were complicated.
The Academy is not easy going about leaks and other bad journalistic behavior…. doesn’t even have to be that bad. “Uptight,” has forever been the word.
Nikki, who has gotten the rundown of the show every year for at least the last five, ran them in the past, and in recent years, negotiated with the producers not to run the rundown. In other words, she blackmailed them and/or they bribed her.
But The Academy could never respond to NIkki’s behavior because she had no stake in what they controlled, Oscar night. She doesn’t attend. She doesn’t leave her house. So what could they strip her of? They just managed her, from the top down, so they wouldn’t be under constant attack.
This year, Deadline applied for credentials for the first time. And got them. And therefore, there was something at stake.
If Access Hollywood ran a full rundown of the show this week, you can be absolutely sure that if they were not denied ALL of their credentials, they would have some of them lifted and would have their red carpet position severely impacted. Same with any other TV show, much less an inside baseball website. Outlets, particularly international ones, without the wherewithal to make a big media stink about it have been disappeared in the past.
So make no mistake. This is a normal Academy response to bad behavior by someone to whom they are giving access.
But there is a question mark. How complicit is Tom Sherak in Nikki’s overall behavior?
Nikki writes, “A few (though by no means all) of the “spoilers” reported by Deadline — including Billy Crystal’s scheduled appearance — were done so with the permission and encouragement and even timing suggestions of Oscars bigwigs.”
That’s Mr. Sherak. He has, as I reported yesterday, been floating things to Nikki since he got into office, starting with Board of Governors meeting info.
So… when Sigfried & Roy decided to train wild animals and put them in a Vegas showroom, whose fault was it when the wild animal ripped out Roy’s throat… the lion or the presumptuous handler? Or both?
One thing we know about Nikki. She wouldn’t publish the rundown without floating it past someone – Sherak, Cohen, Misher, or all three – before printing it. It is extremely rare that she runs something extreme that isn’t being planted with purpose by a major Nikki Handler, without threatening the person who will be damaged and offering them a chance to give her something not to run the material. (As seen on Entourage…)
So what really happened? One of Nikki’s best tricks is that she knows that The Academy and most executives in town will not respond to her publicly. So she can claim whatever she wants knowing that she will be the only one telling the tale. It’s unlikely that Sherak, Cohen, or Misher would ever admit on the record that they negotiate with Nikki for anything at anytime. Every time they give her something first, it’s not going to the ET, Access Hollywood, LA Times, NY Times, EW, Hollywood Reporter, Variety, etc, etc, etc. So they would rather let her maintain the image that she is a reporter who digs things out. Nikki’s rundown source has to be someone who has worked on the show for the last five years… maybe at the theater… maybe at ABC… maybe a publicist who has some big clients and would actually get a full rundown… maybe in The Academy. Regardless, I guess one can say that she digs that out. She has a source who isn’t The Showrunners or The Academy.
Her indignity is comic, but she’s been so indulged for so long, including taking some nips at Sherak’s feeding hand, one almost feels sorry for her, confused by being told, “no.”
Thank God The Academy did this. And heaven help us if they reverse themselves.
Will others follow?
And will Tom Sherak now be out of the NIkki Handling business, once and for all?
He should be. Or his role as a leader at The Academy should be in real jeopardy.
Meanwhile, the price will be paid not by Nikki, but by Mike Fleming. She will Live Snark the show… and the same small group that cares about her Live Blogging will still care. But look at her best shot at The Academy…
“I spoke to Sherak who didn’t appear angry, which leads me to believe so it was Robertson who threw the hissy fit.”
Wow. Brutal. No wonder people quake in their boots when Nikki calls.
And leave it to Nikki to throw her source, Sherak, under the bus when it suits her.
Get your head out of her mouth, Tom. All risk, no real reward.