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August 23, 2006
Now We Know Why Comedy Central Put 'Trapped' Back In Rotation

Viacom has cut its ties with Tom Cruise, and done so in an unusually public manner. CEO Sumner Redstone cited Cruise's odd public behavior and controversial statements regarding Scientology and psychiatry as reasons that Viacom unit Paramount Pictures severed the relationship with Cruise's production company:

Paramount Pictures will end its longstanding relationship with Cruise/Wagner Productions, actor Tom Cruise's production company, citing his erratic behavior, according to a report published Tuesday.

Sumner Redstone, CEO of Paramount owner Viacom, said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that Cruise's controversial behavior over the last year - including advocating for Scientology and denouncing the use of antidepressant drugs - was the cause for the move.

The movie company is concerned that Cruise's behavior hurt his most recent film, "Mission: Impossible 3," said the report.

"As much as we like him personally, we thought it was wrong to renew his deal," Redstone was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal. "His recent conduct has not been acceptable to Paramount."

Redstone is hardly alone in these concerns. Steven Spielberg reportedly cooled his friendship with the star of War of the Worlds after his antics cut into that film's business. Kate Capshaw, AKA Mrs. Steven Spielberg, has a deeper grudge against Cruise after Scientologists staged a protest outside the offices of a family member's psychiatrist -- shortly after she had mentioned him to Cruise. Cruise tried doing some suck-up routines afterwards, according to the Slate article from five weeks ago, but it has not had much effect, at least not on Capshaw.

Unlike some critics and moviegoers, I think Cruise has talent and likeability. Unfortunately, he has chosen to squander both recently in what can charitably be called a mid-life crisis of enormous proportion. Regardless of his relationship with Katie Holmes -- and what single guy wouldn't trade spots with Tom Cruise? -- his public behavior has overshadowed his middling talents and erased his nice-guy attraction. Even before the psychotic romp on Oprah's couch (parodied unmercifully in Scary Movie 4), he publicly and without provocation attacked Brooke Shields for using anti-depressants for her post-partum depression, and then lectured Matt Lauer on the Today show on psychopharmacology without the benefit of having any education in the field outside of L. Ron Hubbard's teachings.

Seeing these incidents come in a sudden string of bad press, Redstone made the smart decision to cut bait and let Cruise go elsewhere. That decision may have been foreshadowed in the recent but unheralded decision to allow South Park's "Trapped In The Closet" episode back into the rotation, along with the "Bloody Mary" episode Viacom unit Comedy Central had suppressed after their initial airing. The Emmy nomination received by Trey Parker and Matt Stone forced Comedy Channel to re-air "Trapped" despite their earlier announced decision to keep it off the air. The episode returned in re-airings afterwards, indicating that Viacom's earlier reluctance to anger Cruise had dissipated along with Cruise's reputation.

Tom Cruise will make more movies, and whatever fans he has left will still enjoy them, assuming that he pulls his head out of his nether regions sometime soon. His reputation as a power broker will not soon be restored, however, and his choice of roles may narrow considerably with Redstone and Spielberg dropping him from their Rolodexes. His sins are hardly as egregious as those committed by Mel Gibson and Andrew Young, and he doesn't deserve to lose his career over some mid-life weirdness. On Hollywood's Richter scale of strange, he barely registers.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at August 23, 2006 4:12 AM

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» Cut Loose By Paramount Puctures, Tom Cruise Plots Revenge from Political Satire Fake News - The Nose On Your Face
Tom Cruise is pictured above forging a race of superhuman warriors from scratch in the Hellfires of Permetheon, Cruise's Southern California retreat. The creatures, known as Hubbardonians, are being spawned by Cruise to do battle with Paramount Picture... [Read More]

Tracked on August 23, 2006 12:50 PM

» A-List Views of Paramount's Jettisoning of Tom Cruise from AListReview
My favorite article on the whole debacle comes from Captain's Quarters :  "...his public behavior has overshadowed his middling talents and erased his nice-guy attraction."  The Captain also points out that South Park's previously-b... [Read More]

Tracked on August 24, 2006 10:12 AM


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