Judy Sheindlin helped to revitalize the reality-based courtroom format with her immensely successful show “Judge Judy,” in which she’s the ultimate voice in small-claims disputes. Distributed by CBS and currently in first-run syndication, it holds the distinction of being the longest-running court show ever. Meanwhile, Sheindlin has become one of the highest-paid TV stars, earning close to $47 million per year for her work on the show.
No wonder: “Judge Judy” generates at least $160 million a year for CBS in license fees and advertising sales. The show draws an average audience of about 10 million viewers a day — a larger crowd than many primetime series.
A retired Manhattan family court judge, Sheindlin was born and raised in New York. Her show, which drew inspiration from “The People’s Court,” debuted in 1996, showcasing Sheindlin’s tough-love philosophy for solving personal disputes. “Judge Judy” has been nominated 15 times for the Daytime Emmy for outstanding legal/courtroom program, with one win in 2013.
The show’s 22nd season, which began airing in September 2017, has continued to dominate daytime ratings, and CBS Television Distribution extended its contract with Sheindlin until completion of the show’s 25th season in 2021. As part of the deal, CBS acquire the complete library rights to 5,200 hours of her show to the tune of a reported $95 million.
Sheindlin is also creator and exec producer of the CBS-distributed court show “Hot Bench,” and she has other projects in development with CBS through her Queen Bee Productions banner.