'The People's Court' Brings Back Doug Llewelyn For New Season

The People's Court has welcomed back Doug Llewelyn, its original "hallway guy" (a.k.a. host/reporter), as of its new season that premiered this week.

Llewelyn, 77, was the host during the Judge Wapner era from 1981 to 1993 when the syndicated show filmed in Los Angeles.

He replaces Curt Chaplin who since 1997 has interviewed the litigants on the way out of the courtroom after Judge Marilyn Milian renders her decision. Chaplin still does the voiceover narration -- including the pun-filled case summaries -- as each plaintiff and defendant enter the courtroom.

Some viewers felt that Chaplin was a little too arrogant and snarky (i.e., "too curt," as it were) with the litigants, while Llewelyn, who took over as of Monday's episode, has a much lighter, friendlier approach.

"Llewelyn is back in his role, replacing Chaplin almost 36 years after the pilot was filmed in October of 1980, and 23 years since the show was first cancelled," Reality Blurred explained.

Judge Milian ceremonially handed Llewelyn his official microphone and suit jacket upon his first appearance since 1993 in the episode that aired Monday.

Returning to The People's Court is "the most shocking and pleasant surprise of my entire career … who would ever have thought I'd be back in that courtroom hallway again? And I can tell you this …the winners are still delighted, the losers are still mad and the audience, as well as most of us behind-the scenes, are still amazed & even dumbfounded by the people we meet and the stories we hear in that legendary courtroom," Doug Llewelyn admitted on the show's website, adding that he loves Judge Milian.

Llewelyn has also brought back his signature catchphrase, "Don't take the law into your own hands -- take 'em to court."

An experienced news reporter, Doug Llewelyn has been continuously active in front and behind the camera in the media industry and runs his own production company that specializes in creating TV shows for corporate America.

The People's Court has not yet given a reason for the switch from Chaplin to Llewelyn.

In between the legendary Judge Wapner and Judge Milian's long run on the TV show's bench (1981-1993 and 2001-present, respectively), The People's Court was presided over by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch and Judge Judy's husband, Jerry Sheindlin. The show was out of production for four years prior to when it was rebooted with the late Mayor Koch, and episodes were shot in New York City. The People's Court now is filmed in a Stamford, Connecticut, TV studio as of four years ago.

Harvey Levin of TMZ fame still conducts the man/woman on the street interviews about the cases, although he now does so in Los Angeles rather than in Manhattan's Times Square.

The People's Court and Judge Judy (and other shows in this genre) have the same premise. Litigants who have filed small claims cases agree to drop their lawsuits and allow their dispute to be resolved more quickly on TV by a retired judge in form of binding arbitration. The jurisdiction maximum for money damages varies from state to state, and The People's Court abides by the controlling limit of the particular state from where each case originates.

Although both judges engage in lots of grandstanding and short-circuiting of testimony, Judge Milian — a former Florida circuit court judge — routinely explains how specific and established legal principles apply to each case before her rather than just berating the litigants.

The plaintiff and the defendant generally receive an appearance fee and expenses, and the show pays the money judgment if the plaintiff (or the defendant on a counterclaim) prevails, which incentivizes both sides to agree to go on TV even if embarrassment or humiliation is the byproduct. This is particularly relevant since small claims defendants often are "judgment proof" (i.e., have no assets) or are difficult to collect from even with a judgment in hand.

"The People's Court draws on ordinary people who have filed grievances in civil court then opt to have their cases heard on the televised show. Researchers check court dockets across the country in search of unique cases that include disputes between neighbors and family members, and dissatisfied customers suing businesses. Judgments are final and binding," the Stamford Advocate detailed.

If you are a People's Court fan, are you happy that Doug Llewelyn has returned to the show after all these years?

[Image via Shutterstock]

Added: Watch Doug Llewelyn's return to The People's Court.