The woman best known as Judge Judy is departing from CBS after an impressive 25-year run — during much of which her courtroom show was the top first-run show in all of syndicated TV.
The daytime TV star, whose real name is Judy Sheindlin, told the Wall Street Journal in an interview published Wednesday that it was affected by the way another one of her shows was handled. Hot Bench, which she created, premiered in 2014 and features a panel of judges: Tanya Acker, Patricia Dimango and Michael Corriero. And all three rule on the cases before them.
The WSJ reports that when CBS introduced the syndicated Drew Barrymore Show in September, "some CBS stations in major markets made room for it by moving the court show Hot Bench to their secondary channels." Understandably, this did not sit well with Sheindlin, especially because it's reportedly besting Barrymore in the ratings: an average of 2.3 million viewers to 719,000 this season.
"You disrespected my creation," Sheindlin said. "And you were wrong. Not only in disrespecting my creation, but your gamble in what you put in its place."
Then Sheindlin laughed.
"We had a nice marriage," she said. "It's going to be a Bill and Melinda Gates divorce."
In response, CBS Media Ventures President Steve LoCascio told the newspaper, "We have had an incredibly successful relationship with Judy over the last 25 years. It has been an honor representing her show, and just like there has never been another Oprah, there will never be another Judge Judy."
Sheindlin has earned buckets of money over the years. Forbes estimated in May 2020 that she's amassed a fortune of $440 million between the two TV projects, mostly from the $47 million a year that she's earned on Judge Judy since 2012. Now, the last, new episode of it is tentatively scheduled to air July 23.
While a lot of people would consider retiring at this point — Sheindlin is 78 — she already has plans for a new show, which is still untitled. It's scheduled to debut on Amazon's streaming service IMDb TV, and will feature the judge taking on cases with larger amounts at stake. There will also be fewer than half of the 260 episodes per season that she films now.
"I don't play golf. I don't play tennis. I don't play mahjong," she said. "Why would I want to look for something I want to do when I already know what I like to do?"
She, of course, would like the new show to do well, but it's OK with her if it doesn't.
"At this point," she said, "I don't need that validation of my footprint."
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