Jude Judy will be wielding the gavel on television until the year 2020, at least.
Judy Sheindlin has signed a new contract with CBS TV Distribution to continue her daily small claims court show for five more years. She had three years left on her existing deal, which was signed in April 2013.
To appear on Judge Judy, real litigants agree to dismiss their pending small claims court cases from around the country to allow them to be heard as a form of binding arbitration in Judge Judy’s televised courtroom/studio.
The feisty ex-New York City family court judge, 72, reportedly already banks an estimated $47 million a year, so no one will ever have to hold a bake sale for her or her family. Currently in its 19th season, Judge Judy is said to be the top-rated show in first-run daytime syndication for the past five years, pulling in about 10 million viewers a day. The deal also includes possible new co-ventures between CBS and Sheindlin’s Queen Bee Productions, which currently produces Hot Bench, a similar show but with a three-judge panel. Hot Bench has already been renewed for a second season.
In a statement, the no-nonsense judge said, “I’m thrilled to be working with my CBS family for five more years and very excited about this new adventure in production. I loved the experience of creating and developing ‘Hot Bench,’ and look forward to replicating its success with more new, compelling and smart TV.”
A CBS executive described Judge Judy, who has starred in her self-named show since September 1996, as a “true television icon” with whom the company is “excited” to be continuing a longtime relationship.
According to Variety, Judge Judy does not require any go-betweens when negotiating with the corporate suits. Sheindlin ranks as one of the highest-paid personalities in TV, and with her legal background, she has the wherewithal to orchestrate her own contracts. She’s not known to have an agent or manager.
The Hollywood Reporter identified an apparent nuance in the new contract in that it is for Judy Sheindlin personally rather than the Judge Judy show. However, the latter renewal “is expected to follow shortly.”
Although obviously Judge Judy, love her or hate her, is the queen of all the similar judge shows on TV by far, there is a significant difference between her presentation and that of Judge Marilyn Milian on The People’s Court. Although both judges engage in lots of grandstanding and short-circuiting of testimony, Judge Milian — a former Florida circuit court judge — routinely explains how legal principles apply to each case before her.
Are you a Judge Judy fan, and if so, are you happy that Judy Sheindlin has extended her contract?
[Photo by Valerie Macon/Getty Images Entertainment]