Stars needn't worry: Only Tom is in trouble

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After Tom Cruise was dropped from Paramount last week, Ad Age wondered if it signaled a shift in celebrity culture. The majority of readers did not think so, citing Mr. Cruise's off-screen behavior and box-office performance as the causes of his public slapdown.

"Cruise's firing is simply a reflection on his aging, his films' lower receipts and, most importantly, his erratic behavior," said Allan Grant, national director- marketing for Metro Networks.

Web-spawned celebrities are no competition for the film industry, said Amy Stoehr, exec VP, Star Power Systems. "Mr. Cruise has simply become too pricy and risky a commodity to hang on to. Average Joes making clips on MySpace are not going to threaten the movie industry whatsoever."

Dan Webster, a retired copywriter for Motorola, disagrees. "The shift is already apparent in TV, with the numerous 'reality' shows that have replaced shows that featured high-paid stars."

Davaughnu Banks, media director-supervisor for GM Planworks, sees room for both the Cruises and the YouTube stars. "Reality shows are allowing people to become stars overnight, but the megastars that can continue to market themselves creatively and garner media attention will always be around."

What you say: 78% of respondents to Ad Age's poll said Viacom's public parting with Tom Cruise is not a sign of changing celebrity culture in a world where consumers are the "stars" of their own films, blogs and MySpace pages. Only 22% believe a larger shift is afoot.
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