Tom Cruise South Park Episode A Lesson In Corporate Synergy

Tonight's South Park, a Tom Cruise-Scientology ridiculing episode called "Trapped in the Closet," is proving itself to be somewhat of a PR logistics problem for Viacom:

According to a source who has read a draft of the script, it begins with Stan leaving a psychiatrist s office only to be hailed as a savior by the leaders of a strange, Scientology-esque cult because of his off-the-chart results on an E-meter-like personality test. A group of Hollywood A-listers quickly gather outside Stan s house, we re told, with Tom Cruise somehow ending up stuck in a closet leading a news crew stationed at the scene to report that Cruise s fans fervently want the actor to just come out.

Comedy Central s parent company, Viacom which also owns Paramount might not be too keen either about seeing its studio s big-money Mission Impossible 3 star ridiculed yet again just when America had seemingly moved on from its obsession with his sexuality and Scientology ties.

Asked about the South Park episode, Robinson said, We have no knowledge of it, so we don t have any opinion about it at all. Paramount spokeswoman Nancy Kirkpatrick also declined to comment, saying, I don t know anything about it . I can t make that judgement.

After bristling at what might have initially seemed like a conflict between a valued cable property and the studio's biggest movie star, Viacom financial executives took another look at the War of the Worlds numbers, and realized that there was a direct relationship between Cruise's eccentric public behavior and box office receipts. They concluded the South Park episode was instead a valuable opportunity for branding synergy, and commissioned six more episodes on the topic of Cruise and his outrageous, Rip Taylor-esque follies for the coming season.