Judge Judy has been on the air since 1996, which means there are a ton of episodes of the daytime series out in the universe. Judy Sheindlin already has the rights to old episodes of her show, and she's about to embark on a journey to sell those episodes in second run syndication. Unsurprisingly, she wants money for those syndication rights, but the amount she is asking for might surprise you. Judge Judy's syndication deal may cost one outlet around $200 million.
To Judy Sheindlin's credit, Judge Judy is still an incredibly popular TV series, despite its longevity on the air. Even in the past year, Judge Judy has beat out a slew of other daytime shows in the ratings. Her show is more popular than programs like Wheel of Fortune or Weekend Adventure. Even in today's TV landscape, she averages more than 10 million total viewers. Whoever buys the episodes to air in second-run will likely do some good business with those episodes, but the question is whether or not those episodes are worth up to $200 million?
It should be noted that this syndication deal hasn't happened yet. Currently Judy Sheindlin is simply shopping around the package in the hopes some network or platform will bite. THR says the move is part of a new deal she made with CBS that includes a cool $47 million salary and the rights to her old episodes. She's looking to make some extra moolah off those old episodes, alright.
Although there's a back catalog of thousands of old episodes, $200 million is still a lot. Landmark shows, like Seinfeld only sold for $180 million when Hulu nabbed the SVOD rights for the show a short while ago. Granted streaming rights are different than syndication and there are only 180 episodes of Seinfeld in total versus like 5,000+ episodes of Judge Judy, but $200 million is a sizable chunk of change, especially for unscripted programming.
Reports indicate that CBS may have given Judy Sheindlin the rights to her show because the response to selling Judge Judy in syndication or via streaming platforms has not been all that high over the years, despite the fact that old episodes of the long-running series still hold up. With that in mind $200 million, again, might be a bit high. But that doesn't mean that Judy Sheindlin should avoid shooting for the stars. We'll let you know whether or not a deal gets made.
In the meantime, new episodes of Judge Judy are still being produced. You can catch them on weekdays, but be sure to check your local listings. To find out what TV is heading to the schedule, take a look at our midseason TV premiere schedule.