A scientific ranking of celebrities

When it comes to celebrity rankings, we prefer our lists tansparently subjective and silly, like Entertainment Weekly and Premiere’s annual power rankings. After all, we’re taking an ultimately inane topic (celebrity) and doing something inane with it (listing it mathematically).

That’s why we were highly amused by all the work that Forbes apparently put into its “Celebrity 100” list:

To generate the list, we used a combination of factors including income, Web references as calculated by Google, press clips as compiled by Lexis/Nexis, TV/radio mentions from Factiva and the number of times a celebrity’s face has appeared on the cover of 26 major consumer magazines. Earnings estimates are for June 2005 to June 2006 and are dollars earned solely from entertainment income. Management, agent and attorney fees have not been deducted.

From the decision to group the entire casts of “Sopranos” and “Desperate Housewives” together to the inclusion of sports stars (but not their entire team) to the inclusion of TV producers like Dick Wolf that very few people know, but not any movie producers (wouldn’t Brian Grazer make the list?), this is obviously insanely subjective, which makes the whole detailed scientific method at least as silly as US News’ annual college rankings.

But since we’re sure Forbes will keep doing this since celebrity rankings probably sell almost as well as college rankings, we suggest they tweak the formula so that a star who’s powerful, but clearly on the wane, like Tom Cruise after “Mission: Impossible 3,” doesn’t end up number 1.