JUDGE JUDY (continued)

PRESIDING JUDGE: The Honorable Judge Judith Sheindlin

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...Petri Hawkins-Byrd, and Sheindlin refers to him as simply "Byrd." He has been the bailiff on the show for its entire run. He is married, has four children, and stands a full foot taller than the judge! Before the TV program, Byrd acted as Sheindlin's bailiff in the New York court system.

Saturday Night Live provided a hilarious parody of JUDGE JUDY, featuring Cheri Oteri as Judge Sheindlin and Tracy Morgan as bailiff Byrd. The audience was kept in stitches by Oteri's jumpy and finger-pointing version of the judge, as well as Morgan's trademark line: "She's ready to rule!"

JUDGE JUDY is the most popular (ratings-wise) amongst the courtroom reality programs. The fourth season in 1999-2000 saw the highest ratings to date: 9.3. These rating were even higher than those of Oprah! Though the ratings vary from season to season, it is estimated that as many as ten million people watch the show each day. Three quarters of her home audience are female viewers. As a result of this popularity, Sheindlin is one of the highest paid personalities in television history. She brings in an amazing $25 million a year. And her contract has been renewed all the way through the 2013 season!

"The people are real. The cases are real. The rulings are final."

Well, the rulings are usually final...but not always! One of the cases featured on JUDGE JUDY was overturned in an actual court. The dispute surrounded personal property, but Sheindlin handed down a decision that included child custody and visitation. The American Bar Association issued a statement that detailed how she overstepped her bounds as an arbitrator and even noted the irony that she (of all people) made this mistake after having served 25+ years in a family court system!

If you are interested in the minutiae surrounding the colors and styles of the judge's chair, you're in luck! The Wikipedia entry for Judge Judy Sheindlin has all the juicy details regarding Judy's oh-so-comfortable-looking throne. *yawn*

All in all, Judy Sheindlin has stated that she wants people to come away from her courtroom knowing that they must take responsibility for their own actions. And, if she gets to tear them a new one along the way… well, that's just all the more fun for the rest of us!


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