IS TOM CRUISE STILL A TOP GUN?

What are Hollywood insiders saying about Tom Cruise now that his most recent film, the $45-plus million romantic epic Far and Away, has been performing below expectations? (The movie has grossed only $50 million at the box office, compared with Batman's $145 million.)

We asked four top Hollywood professionals, none with Cruise business connections, whether his star has been tarnished by Far and Away. Here's what they said:

Studio executive: "Tom Cruise didn't bomb. The movie bombed. If someone came to me now with a Tom Cruise project and a good script, would I want it? You bet I would."

Agent: "This is a minor lull in a very strong career. Far and Away was too weighty for a summer movie, too ambitious, and selling it as a Tom Cruise; picture was a mistake by Universal."

Publicist: "The failure of the movie reflects badly on Cruise. All of a sudden he's just another top—but working—actor."

Industry analyst: "One bomb won I sink him. If his next movie is good, they'll forget Far and Away."

Cruise's next movie, the much anticipated military drama A Few Good Men, which costars Jack Nicholson and Demi Moore, opens near Christmas.

MOOD MUSIC

We recently heard that Connie Sellecca asked a TV movie crew to play a track from husband John Tesh's new CD, The Games, to help her get in the mood for a love scene with Kevin Dobson in A House of Secrets and Lies, a CBS movie recently completed in Los Angeles.

Naturally we wondered whether Sellecca and Tesh, who cohosts Entertainment Tonight when he isn't composing, enjoy his music in romantic settings at home. Says Tesh: "We're very happily married, and we have a stereo. Figure it out."

CHIPS OFF THE OLD ROCK
Music producer Phil Ramone is overseeing a demo recording in Manhattan for the aptly named Bloodline. an upstate New York rock band whose members include Erin (son of Miles Davis), Aaron (son of Van Halen's Sammy Hagar), Waylon (son of the Doors' Robby Krieger) and Berry Jr. (son of Berry Oakley, the late bassist of the Allman Brothers Band). No record deal has been set.

CHER ON THE LINE

We were just as surprised as the rest of America when Cher called up CNN's Larry King Live recently to urge Ross Perot to stay in the presidential race. How did she gel through?

Tammy Haddad, Life's senior executive producer, says that Cher called CNN's L.A. office, which gave her the number for CNN's news desk in Atlanta. The Atlanta news desk forwarded her call to King's producer in Allan-ta, who then called Had-dad in Washington, D.C. At each step along the way. the CNN folks recognized Cher's voice, but, as a precaution, the producer in Atlanta asked Cher to name her children. Cher snapped, "That's a stupid question. Everyone knows my kids' names."

Correct. She was put through immediately.