Judge Judy is an American reality court show, featuring former New York Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin arbitrating over small claims cases in a small claims "court." While the claims are real, the "court" is not a public court of law but a private arbitration court, and all parties must sign contracts, agreeing to arbitration under Sheindlin. As with Judge Joe Brown, the series is in first-run syndication and distributed by CBS Television Distribution, which is the successor company to the shows' previous distributors: Worldvision Enterprises, Paramount Domestic Television, and CBS Paramount Domestic Television.
Judge Judy boasts the feat of successfully restoring the reality court show genre. Only one other reality court show preceded it and one that had been cancelled and defunct for some period of time prior to the debut of Judge Judy. Moreover, Judy has been credited with introducing the "aggressive" adjudicating approach into the legal genre, which has led to several imitators. In February 2006, Sheindlin received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame—during the court show's 10th season—making her the first television judge to receive the honor. By 2011, the Judge Judy program had been nominated 14 consecutive years for Daytime Emmy Awards, though without ever winning. In mid-2012, an article from the New York Post reported: Judge Judy was snubbed by the award show by not even being nominated despite being the highest-rated court show. In October 2012, Sheindlin was inducted into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame.
Since premiering on September 16, 1996, the show has been the ratings leader in courtroom-themed programming. Furthermore, Judge Judy has been the highest-rated show in daytime television since the 2009-10 television season (the show's 14th season), even surpassing The Oprah Winfrey Show during the talk show's final two seasons on the air. Sheindlin not only secured this title for 2011-12 (season 16), but reportedly received its highest ratings to date when the program attracted an average of 8 million viewers and averaged a 7.0 rating. Two DVDs, featuring "memorable cases", have been released by the show: the first in 2007, "Judge Judy: Justice Served", and the second, in 2008, "Judge Judy: Second To None".
With all its seasons having aired consecutively, solely under Sheindlin, Judge Judy has had the longest original run of any court show. The court shows that outnumber its seasons, The People's Court and Divorce Court, have both been revived and seen multiple judges, making Sheindlin the longest-running television jurist. The show has been renewed several times over the course of its existence, the most recent renewal being on May 2, 2011, with Sheindlin renewing her contract through the 2014-15 season, which will be the show's 19th season. Season 17 of Judge Judy premiered on September 10, 2012, marking a switch to high-definition.
Read more about Judge Judy: Judge Judith Sheindlin