What's wrong with Jay?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Here. I'll say it again.
Jay Leno has no skeletons in his closet, does not have a rap sheet, has not been seen in public drunk, nude or snorting cocaine off someone's belly. Jay apparently has not cheated on his wife, held his baby over a railing, got arrested for drunk driving, picked up a transvestite hooker, called Brooke Shields a bad mother, punched a photographer in the face, married his adopted daughter, checked into a rehab clinic or anything else that would require him to talk to Dr. Drew about anything other than good wholesome family fun, collecting funny cars and trying to save the planet one feminist at a time.
Yet his show ain't doing so good.
The problem with Jay is that he leads a life that many think should be "glamorous," yet comparatively speaking he can easily be seen as "boring." And who wants to throw their evening away by being bored? When we sit down in front of the boob tube, we want to see boobs, right? In this day and age, if someone won't show 'em, we have the simple option of changing the channel and with a quick flick of the wrist, we are in boob heaven. Take a look at the top 25 celebrity scandals since 1982. Rob Lowe - star of a homemade porno that involved a minor back in 1988 - sums it up when he flaunts that, "At the height of my downfall, I made a million dollars a picture." Maybe it was the peak and not the valley, dear boy. Ever consider that?
From a public relations platform, this is really a question of whether or not no press is indeed, bad press.
To answer that, all we have to do is ask Dave Letterman or any of the alleged female employees he slept with during his climb to television reign. Or perhaps Tiger Woods will weigh in on how his tumultuous affairs affected his sponsorship dollars and golfing habit. Maybe bad boy Charlie Sheen has something to say though no one really cares anymore what the playboy did or didn't do. Or Chris Brown for that matter. Lindsey Lohan has made a career out of displays of offensive and often illegal behavior that knows no limits while Whitney Houston can't decide whether it's trendy to admit to casual cocaine use or not. Don't talk to Cocaine Kate Moss about that, she's a mom now...as I'm sure Tom Brady and soon enough I predict, LeAnn Rimes will attest.
From a public relations standpoint, it's all about understanding your audience, your key stakeholders and your playing field. Not that I am suggesting that Jay do something scandalous to keep getting invited to the cool kids parties, but he does need to maintain his 'A' game in order to not get benched. Very similar to how many organizations work - including the office, school, church, neighborhood associations, social clubs and more - it's about carving out a niche and continually sharpening your sword as you enter the battlefield. And if you find yourself with a dull weapon in hand, maybe consider falling upon it in order to get some immediate attention. Can't hurt, can it?
Oh...I don't know...maybe I'll ask Conde Nast on their thoughts about boob-showings as rating bolsters...