A 7.18 Brooks BarnesN.Y. Times story reports (a) an attempt by Nikki Finke to buy back Deadline from bossman Jay Penske with the help of a Phoenix-based private equity guy named Jahm Najafi, and (b) an interest on Finke’s part in wanting to start fresh with a new site, NikkiFinke.com, because her Deadline duties have taken the edge off her hammerhead reporting. The gist, it seems, is that TheWrap‘s Sharon Waxman wasn’t entirely off the mark when she reported last June…well, not that Penske had whacked Finke (that was a bit out-there) but that there was serious trouble in River City between them.

“At least in some corners of the show business capital, the Finke-Penske fight has turned into a lurid spectator sport,” Barnes writes. “[And yet] the tit-for-tat entanglement may simply boil down to another example of the corporate difficulties associated with brands that are so closely linked to one personality, especially one as ferocious as Ms. Finke.”