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Variety is sold: SoCal yawns. But what about Nikki?

Penske Media Corp.

Jay Penske, CEO of the digital media company Penske Media Corp. who owns the IndyCar racing team Dragon Racing, web site Deadline.com, and now Variety.

Deadline.com

Deadline Editor Nikki Finke


Variety, the 107-year-old Hollywood trade paper, was sold Tuesday to the Penske Media Corp. for reportedly $25 million, but very few seem to care about the deal.

The most intriguing question is whether or not Deadline.com firebrand Nikki Finke will have any power over the old trade mag.  

PMC CEO Jay Penske told the L.A. Times today that he has no plans to change the good thing he has going with the site PMC bought in 2009. "What Nikki has architected at Deadline is simply amazing," Penske said to the Times. "To alter or change the chemistry of Deadline would be in our opinion a huge mistake."

But others think it would be a waste not to let the reclusive editor have a chance running Variety in the same way that Tina Brown became Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek when the website she was running, The Daily Beast, merged with the iconic magazine.

"Finke and her band of marauders at Deadline — some of whom were hired from Variety — have cleaned the trade's clock over the past three years. Why would anyone buy a vanquished foe only to ice out the generalissimo responsible for its defeat?" asked John Cook Tuesday in Gawker.

"Yes, both brands will maintain distinct websites and editorial offerings," Penske told the Times in a second story posted today. "I guess a recent parallel would be Bloomberg's purchase of BusinessWeek from McGraw-Hill. Though both brands generally cover business news and finance, each brand has an independent platform advantage, certain brand strengths, valuable non-editorial products, and editorial collaboration that overall is very accretive. And to be clear, this is very different than the The Daily Beast-Newsweek arrangement."

Although many in the worlds of publishing, journalism, blogs and the entertainment industry should be buzzing about the deal, based on social media and the comments on the sites, the general public seems to be having a hard time caring about a purchase that cost about the same as what Angels' outfielder Vernon Wells will be paid this year.

The Times' Q&A with Penske has received zero comments and just five Facebook recommends two and a half hours after being posted. The original news item by the paper got three comments and 153 recommends. Deadline only garnered 19 comments on its piece about the sale.

Even Deadline's rival, The Wrap, only got eight comments on its story of the deal, which quotes an anonymous source who says Finke is "having a major tantrum because [Penske] won't give her the keys [to Variety]."

Perhaps this story is so inside baseball about a trade magazine that very few read (due to pay walls and other obstacles) that it's under the radar to the general population.

That will all change, one would imagine, once Finke herself speaks out. So far, she has remained uncharacteristically quiet.

What do you think? Do you care?

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