By Amy Ryan
September 19, 2006 at 11:36 PM EDT

The New York Times may have messed up on its pre-war WMD stories or fact-checking on Jayson Blair, but the Paper of Record is ready to apply its vast reportorial resources to another thorny topic — celebrity marriages. Op-ed columnist John Tierney, who apparently didn’t have any wars or political scandals to write about today, has enlisted Geek Logik author Garth Sundem to help create a formula that predicts the longevity of celebrity unions.

Alas, the results are behind the Times Select curtain, but for you non-subscribers, we’ll summarize: Tierney and Sundem’s extensive research has determined that the chief celebrity marriage-dooming factors include the couple’s youth (sorry, Britney and Kevin, but the Times says you have only a 1 percent chance of reaching your fifth anniversary), the woman being more famous than the man (see Jessica and Nick, pictured), and the woman’s sex-symbol status (again, see Jessica). Somewhat older couples (Affleck and Garner, for example) and couples where the man is more famous (Matt Damon and whatsername) have better chances. PopWatch’s thanks go out to Tierney and Sundam for their jaw-droppingly astonishing findings in this matter of grave national import. We smell Pulitzer!

addCredit(“Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson: Jamie McCarthy/”)