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A New Top Gun

Tom recasts his PR team -- The ''War of the Worlds'' star replaces his sister with a new publicist

In a town brimming with 12-step programs, everybody knows the first action in a crisis is admitting you have a problem. The second, of course, is getting a new publicist. Thus, Tom Cruise replacing Lee Anne DeVette (a.k.a. his sister) with the PR firm Rogers & Cowan last week was by the book. But R&C honcho Paul Bloch says this is not the work of a star in crisis mode: ''It's just a little business story about how he's expanding his company's representation.'' DeVette, Bloch stresses, will oversee Cruise's charity work.

Still, you gotta wonder. Cruise — much like a certain president — has been dogged by speculation that he's insulated by a band of yes-men. So is this move his version of dismissing, say, Karl Rove and starting fresh? It wouldn't be a surprise. Much blame for Cruise's talk-show escapades fell on DeVette, who had little major PR experience before she took on the biggest — and most boisterous — movie star in the world. By contrast, Bloch is a respected old-guardsman whose outfit works with top talent, including Mel Gibson and Cruise's fellow outspoken Scientologist John Travolta.

However it all adds up, this puppy has probably jumped on his last couch.

Originally posted Nov 11, 2005 Published in issue #850 Nov 18, 2005 Order article reprints