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Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by Judge Judy Sheindlin, a retired Manhattan family court judge. The show features Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small claim disputes within a simulated courtroom set. Prior to the proceedings, all parties involved must sign arbitration contracts agreeing to Sheindlin's ruling, handling and production staff management. The series is in first-run syndication and distributed by CBS Television Distribution.
Judge Judy, which premiered on September 16, 1996, reportedly revitalized the court show genre. Only two other arbitration-based reality court shows preceded it, The People's Court (its first life canceled in 1993 from low ratings) and Jones & Jury (lasting only the 1994–95 season, short-lived from low ratings). Sheindlin has been credited with introducing the "tough" adjudicating approach into the judicial genre, which has led to several imitators. The only two court shows that outnumber Judge Judy's seasons, The People's Court and Divorce Court, have both lasted via multiple disunited lives of production and shifting arbiters. Thus Sheindlin's span as a television jurist or arbitrator has lasted longer than any other—a distinction that earned her a place in the Guinness World Records in September 2015. With no cancellations or temporary endings in its series run, Judge Judy also has the longest-lasting individual production life of any court show.
A three time Emmy Award winner, Judge Judy won its first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program in 2013, its 15th nomination. It was the first long-running, highly rated court show to win an Emmy. The court show won Emmys in 2016 and 2017 respectively.
Since its premiere, Judge Judy has gained enormous popularity and has had the highest ratings in courtroom programming in the United States. The show was also the highest-rated daytime television program from its 3rd (1998–99) through 5th (2000–01) season. After that, the show's Nielsen ratings moderated but regained the number one spot by its 13th season (2009–10) and has kept this reign to date. For its 16th season (2011–12), it was named the highest-rated program in all of daytime as well as syndication, averaging a 7.0 rating. It regained the position as leader in all of syndication for its 18th season and has kept that title henceforth, 5 consecutive years to date through its 22nd season.
The court show's 23rd season commenced on Monday, September 10, 2018. In March 2015, Sheindlin and CBS Television Distribution extended their contract through the program's 25th season (2020–21).
Last Updated: November 27, 2018