Whiz Kid's Biz Bid: Deadline Owner Eyeing Variety?

In your soggy Thursday media column: a rumored bid for Variety, Penthouse's owner has a cheap IPO, Erin Burnett's going to CNN, Slate's editor likes Slate, and a Reader's Digest recipe kerfuffle.

  • The Daily is reporting that Jay Penske, the 30 year-old mogul who owns Nikki Finke's Deadline.com and Bonnie Fuller's HollywoodLife is considering making a bid for Variety. Then he would own everything in Hollywood that talks about people! Variety says the rumor is "nonsense." But of course it's practically impossible to refute such a thing, since everyone lies about deals like that as a matter of course. So just keep in on your radar screen, down near the bottom.
  • CNBC anchor Erin Burnett is reportedly set to sign a long-term contract with CNN. Concerned about where you can get your daily dose of Erin Burnett? That's sad.
  • FriendFinder Networks, the parent of sexxxy dating websites and Penthouse magazine, had plans to raise nearly half a billion dollars with an IPO in 2008. Woops, there was a recession. Now they have plans to raise "between $50 and $60 million." Which would still leave them swimming in debt. Should have cashed in when the sexxx was hot!
  • Slate editor David Plotz thinks Slate is so good. Well, it is pretty good.
  • Adweek says that Reader's Digest CEO Mary Berner's recent departure may have been partly caused by a dispute over whether the company should sell off Allrecipes.com, the web's biggest food site. So. There you have it.
[Photo of Penske via Getty Images]