Jesse James

GSI Media

Jesse James: Another celebrity doofus, another apology tour. Do these self-punishment interviews ever work?
—Tommy, New Jersey

The I'm-an-asshat routine didn't seem to hurt Tiger Woods. His wife may be as pissed as ever, but he's still out there, you know, whacking balls for money.

And then there's Chris Brown, who's amassed an astounding number of glassy-eyed Manson girls supporting him on Twitter.

But have these guys really recovered, and will James get a similar bounce after yesterday's Nightline gut-spilling?

Now I'm gonna crunch the numbers for you, with the help of Davie Brown Entertainment. The company actually quantifies a celebrity's popularity with its eight-category Davie Brown index.

In the case of Tiger Woods, his popularity, of course, plummeted once his parade of extracurricular ladies began to march across the tabloids. Woods's "appeal" score on the Davie Brown index plummeted from a healthy 82.33 in January of 2009 to a woeful 51.77 the following January.

But then he orchestrated that hyper-scripted apology speech at Sawgrass the following month, and did a few more self-flagellating appearances. Since then, Woods's "appeal" quotient has ceased to plummet; it's still around 51.

"He hasn't rebounded, but he's no longer in freefall," Davie Brown's president, Tom Meyer, told me.

Now let's look at Chris Brown. His post-Rihanna-beating debacle jumped off in February of last year, sinking his Davie Brown "endorsement" quotient—Brown's general commercial appeal—from about 69 to about 52.

That number continued to sink even as Brown started his public apologies—right up until he did his December 2009 in-depth interview with Robin Roberts. Then it got a bounce.

Like Woods, Brown's numbers have generally stopped sinking since then, but they haven't risen either.

Finally, I have the numbers for Jesse James. Obviously it's too early to see what, if any, bleeding he may stanch with his interview, given that he may already have drained all the public goodwill he ever had. But it's clear he has a much steeper hill to climb.

"Jesse James is a perfect example of someone who messed with the wrong person," teen-marketing expert Ashley Dos Santos of Crosby-Volmer Communications tells me.

"Even before the Oscars, Sandra Bullock was Hollywood's sweetheart, both on the set and behind the scenes. Jesse James has a tough road ahead in ever winning back public affection from anyone besides his MySpace one-night stands."

How does that problem look in numerical form? Hey, glad you asked.

There's a "trust" quotient among the eight categories that make up the Davie Brown index—the level of trust that consumers place in the celebrity. And for James, that number has plunged from around 56 in 2008 to a sad 31.

I guess that means a few people still trust him, but in general, it sounds like James has nowhere to go, from now on, but up.

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