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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Courts - "Others Fade, but Judge Judy Is Forever: At 71, She Still Presides"

Most recently, the ILB posted about Judge Judy on January 26th of this year.

This long story by Brooks Barnes appeared in the May 23rd NY Times. Some quotes:

Her flagship 30-minute program has been renewed for three more seasons. Coming in the fall is “Hot Bench,” a new syndicated show that she created; its cases will be argued before a three-person panel, a twist for the court genre. “She is an absolute force of nature,” said Armando Nuñez, chief executive of the CBS Global Distribution Group.

Well, yes. But beyond her singular talent for showmanship — a tut-tut here, a barked order there — why is “Judge Judy” bucking television’s downward trend?

Social media is one answer. About a year ago, after resisting, Judge Sheindlin agreed to dive into sites like Twitter and Facebook, hiring her grandson, Casey Barber, 25, to lead the effort. She also began regularly posting videos on a site called What Would Judy Say?, where she dispenses pearls of wisdom and poses questions to her fans. (A recent one: “Should parents be fined for children’s bullying?”)

Perhaps because she is revealing more of her off-bench personality, which is more playful and warm, Judge Sheindlin has become a less polarizing figure, according to the Q Scores Company, which measures the likability of public figures. “She has always had high levels of believability and trustworthiness, but people have started to have a much more balanced perception of her and like her more, especially when she uses a bit more humor,” said Henry Schafer, the research firm’s executive vice president.

Mr. Schafer said his company’s March survey showed that Judge Sheindlin had a score of 19, on par with Oprah Winfrey. To compare, Katie Couric had a 12. * * *

Judge Sheindlin, who tapes only 52 days a year, for which CBS pays her an estimated $47 million, has her own theories about her program’s continued popularity.

“People take comfort in order,” she said. “I also move swiftly, as opposed to a justice system and a government that is slow and meandering.” In other words, “Judge Judy,” which features real small-claims cases, offers people a fantasy — a legal system as they would like it to be.

“There are so many injustices in this world, and her show gives me 30 minutes of escape every day where I know the right decision will be made,” said Pat Wager, a longtime fan from Naples, Fla., who attended a recent taping of “Judge Judy.” “She’s the voice of reason in America,” Ms. Wager added, noting that most episodes contain a positive message about the importance of personal responsibility. * * *

“Judge Judy” is very much a Hollywood product, but the unedited proceedings are surprisingly courtlike. * * *

Tiny and tan, Judge Sheindlin, formerly a prosecutor and a judge in New York City, was relaxed and wickedly funny off camera. * * *

The “Judge Judy” star could easily have a larger business empire, but she has turned down endorsement and licensing offers.

“I’m a judge,” she said. “I’m not a judge who sells dog food or a judge who sells toothpaste.”

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 28, 2014 09:36 AM
Posted to Courts in general