Judge Judy revolutionized the court TV show. Her take-no-prisoners attitude, catchphrases, and quick wit made her a star in the once drab world of daytime television. And she became the highest-paid personality in television for it, earning her a whopping $47 million a year in the end.
Her partnership with CBS ended in a bitter divorce. But for years it was a fruitful marriage, Judge Judy, whose real name is Judy Sheindlin said. One year, after going back and forth with her salary negotiations, Judy sat down with executives with a proposition, she told PEOPLE.
“We should be partners,” she says she told CBS executives 10 years into the show’s run. “I can do this program without you. Good luck, you can’t do it without me.”
CBS was happy to oblige her. For years afterward, she would slip her bosses an envelope with a number written on a piece of paper. That would be her new salary. No negotiations. No discussions. That was the figure if they needed to pay if they wanted her to stay.
“Once you’ve done that and have leverage, make a reasonable demand and know what the commodity is worth,” she explained.
But earlier this year, she felt CBS “disrespected” her and one of the spinoffs she created, which caused an unmendable rift in the relationship.
Judge Judy created a panel-based court show Hot Bench with CBS in 2014. But earlier this year, CBS started to “bump” the series in several major markets to make room for The Drew Barrymore Show, the Wall Street Journal reported. Judge Judy was furious. She sold her stake in Judge Judy to CBS and walked away after adjudicating nearly 13,000 cases over 25 years.
“You disrespected my creation,” she told the Journal. “And you were wrong. Not only in disrespecting my creation, but your gamble in what you put in its place.
“We had a nice marriage,” she added. “It’s going to be a Bill and Melinda Gates divorce.”
Judge Judy Talks About Returning for ‘Judy Justice’
But Judge Judy didn’t like retirement. So, she recently signed on with IMDbTV for her new show Judy Justice. The format is the same as her CBS show, but there is a new cast of characters in the courtroom.
“If you retire and you’re still feeling ok, you have to retire to do something,” she told PEOPLE. “To play golf, to play tennis, to play Mah Jong, to play backgammon, to go into volunteer work, to do something. You rewire. And I honestly couldn’t think of anything that I wanted to do more on a fuller basis. I mean, I can play gin for two hours and still have this job.”
She hinted that Amazon was willing to pay handsomely for her services.
New episodes of Judy Justice started streaming on the Amazon-owned service Monday. IMDb TV releases new episodes every weekday. You can find out how to watch it, here.