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TV Lawsuits happen on the regular. There was a suit involving New Girl recently, and the Bones cast and some of the creative team are currently embroiled in a legal matter with Fox. Now, apparently, there’s a Judge Judy lawsuit on the horizon, as CBS is under some hot water from Rebel Entertainment Partners (led by President Richard Lawrence). The problem? The group claims it has been owed money since at least 2010.
As these things invariably go, the Judge Judy lawsuit comes down to money. Rebel Entertainment Partners is claiming that CBS is fudging the numbers and actually owes the company a lot more money than the network is willing to shell out. What Rebel claims is happening is that Judge Judy Sheindlin was given a large raise to $47 million dollars per year that ate into their profits. Rebel Entertainment Partners says they were paid as expected until 2010, when Sheindlin’s raise kicked in. Prior to the raise, CBS reported Judge Judy was making net profits and Rebel got a cut. After the raise, CBS began reporting losses, and Rebel lost out on its cut.
The lawsuit also alleges that CBS hasn’t been fair with the company when making Hot Bench, another syndicated law show that was reportedly described as a spin-off to Judge Judy by a CBS affiliate. If it is a spin-off, Rebel Entertainment Partners would be entitled to more money. However, CBS says Hot Bench is not a spin-off but is instead its own property.
While Judge Judy Sheindlin is not directly named in the suit and CBS is, she’s still coming out with fiery comments against the accusations, telling Deadline:
The fact that Richard Lawrence is complaining about my salary is actually hilarious. I met Mr. Lawrence for 2 hours some twenty-one years ago. Neither I nor anyone involved in the day-to-day production of my program has heard from him in 20 years. Not a card, not a gift, not a flower, not a congratulations. Yet he has somehow received over $17,000,000 from my program. My rudimentary math translates that into $8,500,000 an hour for Mr. Lawrence. Not a bad payday.
Obviously, how much of this is a reasonable line of questioning and how much of this is hot air remains to be seen, but if Judge Judy Sheindlin’s response to the lawsuit is any indication, CBS won’t be taking the accusations lying down. We’ll let you know how the lawsuit goes as it moves forward in the court process.
While this lawsuit is going on, Judge Judy seems to be doing pretty well. The syndicated unscripted series is number 1 in the Nielsen ratings, and the woman recently signed on for four more seasons, through 2020.
In the meantime, if you are interested in some of the other court cases running around Hollywood, you can read more about the Bones or Quantico lawsuits.