When HBO first announced it was developing a series about “a powerful female online showbiz journalist with a no-holds-barred reporting style,” we figured it could only really have been inspired by one person. Today, The Hollywood Reporter’s Esq. blog reviews Bill Condon and Cynthia Mort’s pilot script and pretty much confirms it: It’s totally about Nikki Finke.
On Tilda, Diane Keaton will star as Tilda Watski, who’s “the most feared woman in Hollywood, because her website, The Daily Circus, takes aim at the town’s most powerful moguls.” Her biography is suspiciously similar to Finke’s:
The Condon/Mort script describes Tilda as “50ish” with “long blonde hair, the last vestige of the prep school girl she once was,” and a demeanor that alternates between charming and monstrous (“I’d fire you because you’re a pathetic douche bag who fucks assistants and then replaces them,” she barks at the studio exec). She has emotional issues and is agoraphobic (her groceries are being delivered in one scene), preferring to stay inside because “I just find it uncomfortable to run into the people I write about,” she says. There hasn’t been a picture taken of Tilda for years. Oh, and she was fired from Newsweek and once had to sell her car to pay back taxes.
(Finke was let go from the New York Post, once sold a car to pay bills, rarely leaves her house, and hasn’t been photographed in years. We find her more charming than monstrous, but then we’ve never had our image used in one of her famous photo illustrations.)
Also, Keaton’s character will reportedly spar with an L.A. Times columnist who seems modeled on Finke nemesis Patrick Goldstein, and at one point she tells her readers, “I have a medical issue today so I’m not posting,” which Finke herself has occasionally been known to do.
With so many parallels, THR wonders whether the script’s more fanciful scenes depicting Tilda as a “regular pot smoker who drinks wine all day” will make it past HBO’s lawyers, especially given Finke’s well-documented litigiousness. They could, however, do pretty much anything they wanted if they acquired Finke’s life rights, which they haven’t yet done, so far as we know. We hope they do, though, since we can’t wait to see this thing.