What Nikki Finke’s Agreement With HBO for Tilda Actually Is


Speculation regarding iron-fisted, cantankerous Hollywood blogger Nikki Finke’s involvement with HBO’s forthcoming show Tilda — which concerns an iron-fisted, cantankerous Hollywood blogger played by Glenn Close — has run the scale from completely mystified, undue speculation to speculation on the potential legal violations and ramifications about it, and speculation beyond that. Today, Finke opened up on her involvement with Tilda on her site.

After noting that she’s never encouraged her writers to write about the show, and that she’s never written about the show herself, she goes on to note:

There is an agreement now in place among myself, Deadline’s parent company MMC, and Watski productions (which is producing the Tilda pilot) negotiated solely on my behalf by attorney Tal Vigderson. I still have no creative or consulting involvement with the show nor wanted any. I still won’t write about the show. And journalists can still write whatever they want about the show.

Great, but one question:

If Finke isn’t being paid as a consultant on the show about her life, but she’s not going to write about it….What kind of agreement is it, exactly?

Well, here’s what we heard: The agreement was essentially a release stating that Finke wouldn’t sue the producers of Tilda for whatever portrayal of her (or the composite that most certainly resembles her) goes onscreen when Tilda airs. In exchange, she gets money for it, and that the money is pretty “standard” for this kind of thing. The deal could be structured any number of ways, but Finke’s been around long enough to presumably know that if the show’s a success, she doesn’t want to be locked in litigation over how much money it owes her. So she probably scored either low-seven figures, high-six figures, and/or maybe some profit points from the deal, too.

Even if she weren’t involved in the first place, it’s gotta be said: Not saying anything about Tilda on Finke’s part is pretty coy, even if she does pointedly turn away from attention given towards any part of her life that doesn’t involve her work. Like, for example, a TV show about her.

But as the story goes, Finke’s flags weren’t up on Tilda too high until Hollywood Reporter lawyer-writer Matthew Belloni wrote his piece on Finke’s ability to declare legal open-season on the producers, given the script he’d read. That was likely around when Finke called her lawyer, and then, a month later, Belloni reported again that a deal was being cranked out. As for our earlier speculation that Finke’s reporters might be in trouble with the FTC for writing about Tilda, well, they’re not getting the money — that HBO cash would go straight to Finke, separate of her business — so they can’t get in trouble, and so long as Finke doesn’t write about it, they could be chastised by purists for not disclosing every time they write about the show that their boss has an agreement with it, but given what we heard, it’s not nearly as disturbing a conflict as it could be (or could be perceived to be).

Even more, Deadline Hollywood reporter was (incidentally) not even working for Finke when she broke the story about Tilda‘s existence at the Hollywood Reporter, though who knows: Maybe it got her boss-to-be’s attention.

As for the attention that’s gonna be placed on Finke, nobody knows for sure what Tilda has in store for Finke (or the composite of her that will emerge), but she just gave them license to do whatever the hell they want, so: should be interesting. But if she really hates the spotlight that much, she’s shit out of luck: Carrie Fisher’s going to be playing a Deadline reporter for one episode of Entourage to air on August 15th. And somewhere, Joe Carnahan is likely still off somewhere screaming about how much he hates her to whoever’s gonna listen. Show business, right?