With twenty-two seasons and close to 6000 episodes till date, Judge Judy is arguably the most iconic and successful reality court show of all time. The show stars Judge Judy Sheindlin, a former judge of Manhattan Family Court, who adjusts real-life small claim disputes within a simulated courtroom set up. The show premiered on September 16, 1996, and is still running till date. Due to its popularity and higher ratings, it is rare to find people who haven’t watched at least a few episodes of Judge Judy.
Today we bring you some admissible facts about your favorite courtroom show that you might not have known before.
1. Legit cases
Many people might think because it’s a TV show, all the stuff that goes on in is totally scripted, but it isn’t. The production company of the show has hired more than 60 personnels to search through almost all the lawsuits filed in local small claims courts. They legally photocopy the cases which they find interesting and then forward the files to the producers of the show. Once the cases are selected, the producers contact the appellants involved to ask whether or not they like to get featured in the show. They even get a free trip to LA, an $850 appearance fee and a per diem of $40. The best part is that any judgments awarded are paid by the show, not by the defendant or the plaintiff.
2. Fake Audience
Unlike the cases, the audience inside the courtroom is not so real. Routine visitors of the show might notice the same faces time and again. If you are wondering why some people appear in the show frequently, it is because the audience in the show are paid $8 per hour to look beautiful and attentive. People can apply to be on the show by emailing their contact information along with a clear headshot. The lucky ones must dress appropriately and arrive sharp at 8:30 a.m. Sometimes famous faces can also be spotted in the show. Over the years many celebrities have appeared in the show, including Amy Schumer.
3. Highest Paid TV star
54 years old Judith Sheindlin is one of the highest paid reality TV stars in the world. In 2010, when her contract with the show was renewed, her paycheck amount was raised to $45 million a year. In 2013, it was reported that she was paid $47 million for a year. Seeing that she only works 52 days a year, her salary is roughly $900,000 a day.
4. Officer Byrd is a real Bailiff
Petri Hawkins Byrd a.k.a. Officer Byrd is an authorized bailiff who got his B.Sc. from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in 1989. In his early days, he used to work at Brooklyn Family Court system. He first worked with Judge Sheindlin when he was transferred to the Manhattan Family Court.
“We used to call her the Joan Rivers of the judicial system,” he said in an interview in 2004.“She was just hilarious.” In 1996, when Byrd was working as a Special Deputy U.S. Marshal in California, he read about the show and wrote a letter to Judy congratulating her and saying, “If you need a bailiff, I still look good in uniform.”
5. Longest-serving TV judge
Judge Judy has been running since 1996. The show has already completed 22 seasons with more than 5900 episodes. The show has lasted more than any other show of its kind. In 2015, was listed in the Guiness Book of World Records. Judy has been sitting at the hot seat for more than any other TV judges. To honor this accomplishment, Guinness Book of World Records listed her name in 2015 as the longest-serving TV judge.