The world’s favourite hard-hitting, no-nonsense reality TV star, Judge Judy, has recently revealed her pay packet, and it’s a damn whopper.
During an ongoing pay dispute between herself (with the backing of her network, CBS) and talent agency Rebel Entertainment, Judge Judith Sheindlin has revealed that she makes $45 million (AUD$56.9 million) a year for 50 days of work. This means she earns $1.14 million Aussie dollars a day.
To put this in perspective, she earns US$30 million more than current late-night king Jimmy Fallon, while working less days overall. Because she’s just that effing badass.
And the kicker is that the undisputed GOAT of courtrooms could be earning more.
Part of Sheindlin’s deal is that she retains full production rights of the show. In layman’s terms, if she doesn’t think she’s earning enough, she can take the show elsewhere, or even self-distribute her hit daytime show, any time she pleases.
Her negotiating position is so powerful that she simply sits down with CBS President Lez Moonves every three years and hands him an envelope of her demands.
I hand him the envelope and I say, ‘Don’t read it now, let’s have a nice dinner. Call me tomorrow. You want it, fine. Otherwise, I’ll produce it myself.’ That’s the negotiation.
The only one who tried something a little bit different was [former president of CBS TV Distribution] John Nogawski. [He] came to the meeting at the Grill on the Alley, and I handed him my envelope, and he said, ‘Judy, I have my own envelope.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to look at it.’ He said, ‘Why not? Maybe it’s more than what’s in your envelope.’ And I said, ‘Well, John, if I look at your envelope, it’s a negotiation. This isn’t a negotiation.’ And he put his envelope away and they gave me what I wanted; not a whole thing, not 30 pages, three things, whatever it was, done.
All this is not money wasted. CBS makes an absolute killing through advertiser sales. It’s estimated that CBS makes $250 million (AUD$316.4 million) from advertisers that buy during her show. Judge Judy brings in an average daily audience of over 10 million across the USA, making it the top-rated syndicated show on US television. Re-runs of Judge Judy regularly outperform primetime mainstays such as The Walking Dead, The Big Bang Theory, and Game of Thrones.
Likewise, CBS is well aware of how Judge Judy has become a cultural phenomenon. During the two decades that her show has been on air, she has become an household name, a feminist icon, and a (only semi-ironic) force to be reckoned with, akin to Chuck Norris or The Rock.
Frankly, Judge Judy is worth every damn penny.