Tom Cruise Punts on Redskins

Tom Cruise Punts on Redskins | Britney Spears Punished by Judge, Fans | Mariah Carey-Janet Jackson-Madonna: A Diva Winter

Tom Cruise Punts on Redskins

Remember all the excitement last year when Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder invested in Tom Cruise's movie career?

Well, that episode is over.

Sources tell me that the deal Cruise and Paula Wagner made with Snyder was bought out sometime in the last few months. The change came when the pair's money came through from Merrill Lynch to finance the films they wanted to make for United Artists.

The end of Snyder as a partner no doubt came as a relief to all sides. Snyder — as I reported last year when all the back-patting was going on — was an odd choice for a partner. He's a top Republican fundraiser and such a good friend of George W. Bush that he was one of the people who convinced him to run for president.

Cruise and Wagner, on other hand, are committed Democrats. They've given and raised money for Dem causes partly through their association with Creative Artists Agency.

More importantly, Cruise/Wagner and the revived United Artists are about to release Robert Redford's anti-Bush, anti-war "Lions for Lambs." The daring film — starring Cruise, Meryl Streep and Redford — is said to be "balanced," but nevertheless would have caused Snyder a lot of uneasy moments at White House dinners.

Ironically, Snyder also purchased Dick Clark Productions this year, which includes the fabled Golden Globes TV broadcast. Cruise is a favorite of the Globes, as are Streep and Redford.

United Artists, by the way, is still part of MGM. And that little studio is currently in release with a film that everyone wants to see — Craig Gillespie's "Lars and the Real Girl." This Ryan Gosling flick is the sleeper gem of the season. If it's playing anywhere near you this weekend, see it without fail. You won't be disappointed.

Britney Spears Punished by Judge, Fans

Britney Spears lost all visitation rights with her two little boys Thursday morning. The family court judge in Los Angeles says she's not complying with orders for drug testing.

What Spears is not understanding is that she's killing not only her relationship with her kids, but with her fans. Her single "Gimme More" is dead at radio, where it's languishing at the bottom of every chart, according to Radio & Records.

What's worse is that her album, "Blackout," due Oct. 30, is now sitting at No. 76 on There's simply little to no advance interest in it. The bad publicity is turning off anyone who might have bought the album just out of curiosity. Perhaps the fans are sending Britney a message? They might support a party girl, but not a willfully bad mother.

And so the saga continues. "Blackout" may wind up in a PR blackout at this point, since Spears seems to be doing everything she can to sabotage the release. The album is built around a single called "Piece of Me," in which Spears chastises the paparazzi. But that idea is losing power hourly, as Spears clearly only has herself to blame for this ongoing mess.

Mariah-Janet-Madonna: A Diva Winter

Mariah Carey has postponed the release of her new album, previously scheduled for Dec. 4, until next February.

At that rate, the album, a follow-up to “The Emancipation of Mimi,” will be bumping right into a new CD from Madonna. At the same time, Janet Jackson — now recording for Island/Def Jam, home of Mariah — may have her new release ready, too.

Get set for Diva Logjam. And to make matters even more interesting, Janet’s boyfriend, Jermaine Dupri, is the producer working with Randy Jackson and others on Mariah’s CD. Dupri brought Jackson over to Island/Def Jam with him from Virgin Records, now lost somewhere in the EMI Music shuffle.

As for Madonna, I have to say I admire the spin going on at Warner Music Group now that the Material Girl is leaving them for a $120 million payday at Live Nation.

WMG, barely in existence, is crowing that they lose nothing by bidding adieu to Madonna. How totally wrong they are. Madonna was very important to them even in a figurative sense. In a real sense, Madonna could easily still have a monster hit.

If she’s smart, Madonna will save her best stuff for her first Live Nation release, and give WMG outtakes and miscellany to fulfill her contract with them. They don’t deserve a new album of material. My guess is Madonna is not the last artist who will exit WMG, but there aren’t so many left: just Eric Clapton, Faith Hill and Linkin Park. They are all left over from the old Warner Music.

Dupri, by the way, has a book out. Yes, he’s old enough to have written a memoir. It’s called "Young, Rich and Dangerous: The Making of a Music Mogul." Dupri dishes on all the dames, and not only that: his dad, Michael Mauldin, discovered Alicia Keys!