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Everyone's favorite TV judge, Judy Sheindlin of Judge Judy fame, is working on a new game show, and it looks like it could serve as a major test for a big part of our legal system. Her new show will test a large part of what it's like to serve as a witness in a criminal case.
The new half-hour game show, tentatively titled iWitness, will pit three contestants against each other as they test how observant they are. iWitness will use images from popular media and video clips to see who can best remember what they've just seen. The winner of this particular challenge will have the chance to compete in the final round of the game and try their hand at winning the $20,000 grand prize that the show is offering. According to The Hollywood Reporter, iWitness will undergo a six week test run on several Fox stations this summer, beginning on July 10. If that goes well, the syndicated show is expected to make its official debut in the fall of 2018. While Judy Sheindlin is executive producing the new game show, it will be hosted by former Talk Soup and Wipeout host John Henson.
Anyone who's watched a detective or legal show in the past, oh, ever, will know how important eyewitness testimony is not only when arresting suspects for crimes, but when later determining, in court, whether or not those individuals are actually guilty of the crimes that they've been accused of. The very real problem, though, is that memory can be a tricky thing to rely on, especially when deciding whether or not someone should spend a potentially significant amount of their life in prison. Throughout the years, several studies have shown how easy it is to convince well-meaning people that they remember a detail that didn't actually happen. Not to mention the fact that a number of factors (including the light present at the time of the crime, how much stress the witness was under, whether or not a weapon was present and the duration of the crime) can affect how people remember and later recall what actually happened.
It's possible that iWitness will reveal to those not intimately involved in the judicial process just how difficult it is to count on those eyewitness testimonies, something that Judge Sheindlin probably knows all too well. The simple format of the show is sure to help remind everyone that we sometimes don't pay as much attention as we think we do, even when we're really trying to take in all the details that we're faced with.