Home Media Source: New ‘Variety’ Not Aiming to Become Gossip-Entertainment Mag

Well, well. It’s very fluid in the whole Variety-Deadline/Penske story. Yesterday Jay Penske met with the Variety to reassure them no immediate changes would be made except that the ridiculous internet pay wall was coming down. The other big news is that he didn’t allow Dominic Patten, a reporter for Deadline, which Penske owns, into the meeting. Nikki Finke and Patten then reported this on the Deadline site. Wow. Who knows what that’s all about? Also, Nikki only announced a few days ago she was going on vacation. But since no one ever sees her, how would you know?

More: my sources now tell me that the scenario I floated–of Bonnie Fuller taking over as editor of Variety–are off base. As much as Bonnie has made HollywoodLife.com, another Penske site, a success, she’s not in the running for Tim Gray’s job. Neither is Nikki Finke, from what I’m told. “Why does anyone think it would be someone from inside and not an entirely new person?” was the question posed to me. So there.

Frankly, Tim Gray has been a great editor of Variety. The paywall was what was killing him. So maybe without it, and some added resources, Gray will just stay the course. But one thing’s for certain: says my source, “Variety is not going to become a gossip-entertainment magazine.” Got that?

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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