Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by former Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin. The show features Sheindlin as she adjudicates real-life small-claims disputes within a simulated courtroom set. Prior to the proceedings, all involved parties sign arbitration contracts agreeing to Sheindlin's ruling. The show aired in first-run syndication. As it was during its active years in production, it continues to be distributed by CBS Media Ventures in syndication, now in reruns that still draw notably high ratings.
The series premiered on September 16, 1996, and concluded on July 23, 2021. The court show ended with its 25th season after Sheindlin and CBS renewed their contract for the final time in 2017. During its run in new episodes, the show did not release airings in the order they were taped. Thus the final filmed case of the series aired on June 8, 2021. While latter seasons of the show currently rerun in syndication, the first and second seasons stream on Paramount Global's Pluto TV "Courtroom" channel as well as the "Judge Judy" channel.
Judith Sheindlin was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1942. She graduated from American University and New York Law School, and then served as a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. In 1982, she was appointed to the Manhattan Family Court, where she served for 20 years. Sheindlin was known for her tough but fair rulings, and she quickly became a media personality. In 1993, she was featured in a 60 Minutes segment, which led to her being offered her own TV show.
Judge Judy premiered in 1996, and it was an immediate hit. The show's format was simple: Sheindlin would hear two small-claims cases per episode, and she would issue her rulings at the end of the show. The show was also known for its sharp humor, and Sheindlin's witty quips became a staple of the show.
Judge Judy was a ratings juggernaut, and it was the highest-rated show in syndication for many years. The show won numerous awards, including a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Show every year from 1998 to 2021.
In 2021, Sheindlin announced that she would be ending Judge Judy after 25 seasons. She said that she was not tired, but she wanted to "do something different." Sheindlin's new show, Judy Justice, premiered on November 1, 2021, on IMDb TV. The show is similar to Judge Judy, but it is produced by Amazon Studios instead of CBS.
Judge Judy was a cultural phenomenon, and it had a lasting impact on American television. The show's success helped to popularize the arbitration-based reality court show format, and it paved the way for other successful shows, such as The People's Court and Hot Bench. Judge Judy was also a role model for women, and it showed that women could be successful in traditionally male-dominated fields.
The show will continue to be enjoyed by audiences for years to come. It is a classic example of American television, and it is a testament to Sheindlin's talent and charisma.