By Ryan Velez
Judge Judith Sheindlin is already far from hurting for money, seeing as she is the highest-earning television star in the world. The star of Judge Judy is pulling in a salary of $47 million annually, but according to Celebrity Net Worth, a slight clause in her latest contract added in during negotiations could equal even more money for Judge Judy.
At the time of her most recent negotiation with CBS TV Distribution in 2015, Sheindlin demanded that she get the rights for her entire library of episodes. By all accounts, CBS threw it in with little fuss, apparently due to the fact that they saw little value in the episodes. One industry insider explained that “[CBS] didn’t necessarily think [the library] was that valuable. There had been some tire-kicking over the years with either cable or SVOD people to see if anyone wanted her shows, and I don’t think the response was overwhelmingly big.”
At the moment, Judge Judy is still the most watched court show on television, even in its 21st season, averaging more than 10 million daily viewers. With CBS wanting to keep her happy, it makes sense that they would quickly hand over the rights if they don’t see the value. However, it looks like Sheindlin is poised to make quite the payday for the library, looking to sell it for as much as $200 million. The exact pitch being given by Judy’s representative, Lisbeth R. Barron, is that networks will want to have Judge Judy on their channels once Sheindlin’s contract with CBS concludes in 2020, a safe bet to make.
One other fact that may get overlooked in all these facts is that Judge Judy has yet to take advantage of opportunities like streaming, cable, or global marketing. With this in place, any network that decides to bite on the offer could potentially make a great deal of money. As of right now, no formal offers have been made, but it looks like CBS may be regretting their decision not to try and get more for the library.