Appeals court rules Judge Judy’s $47million salary IS legal after angry agent sued

Judge Judy has hailed a California appeals court which affirmed an earlier ruling that she was entitled to her $47 million CBS salary – despite an agent’s claims that the monster payout was eating into profits he gets a share of.  

‘It’s always gratifying when the correct judgment is affirmed,’ Sheindlin told Deadline after the ruling was announced on June 30 but emerged earlier this week. 

The lawsuit was originally filed by Rebel Entertainment Partners boss Richard Lawrence in 2016, over a deal it inherited which guaranteed the firm five per cent of the profits made by the TV star’s popular CBS show.

Lawrence’s suit and appeal claimed the huge pay rises given to Sheindlin – which saw her annual wage double from just over $20m to $47m in 2010 – ate into the profits he was owed as part of his deal.

That is because the extra cash used to pay Sheindlin’s bumper check pushed up production costs, and lowered the profit the network made from the show.  

Judge Judy is entitled to her $47million salary, a California court ruled, after the agency behind the famed judge's television show Rebel Entertainment Partners claimed otherwise

Judge Judy is entitled to her $47million salary, a California court ruled, after the agency behind the famed judge’s television show Rebel Entertainment Partners claimed otherwise

Rebel Entertainment Partners owner Richard Lawrence filed a lawsuit in 2016 claiming CBS was unreasonable for paying Sheindlin so much. The suit also said Sheindlin accepted the salary as a 'proceed' tied to the 'costs of production' as a way to deny profits to Lawrence

Rebel Entertainment Partners owner Richard Lawrence filed a lawsuit in 2016 claiming CBS was unreasonable for paying Sheindlin so much. The suit also said Sheindlin accepted the salary as a ‘proceed’ tied to the ‘costs of production’ as a way to deny profits to Lawrence

Formally Judy Susan Sheindlin, the 78-year-old received a hefty raise in 2010, doubling her wages to $45million and then to $47million as season 25 of Judge Judy aired on CBS last month.

Rebel claimed Judge Judy did not stick to the terms of their deal, which was originally agreed upon with Abrams Rubaloff & Lawrence, the agency that first proposed Judge Judy to TV studios and collected fees for doing so.  

When Rebel took over the show, it therefore entitled the agency’s owner Richard Lawrence to five per cent of Judge Judy’s net profits for an infinite amount of time.

Formally Judy Susan Sheindlin, the 78-year-old received a hefty raise in 2010, doubling her wages to $45million and then to $47million as season 25 of Judge Judy aired on CBS last month

Formally Judy Susan Sheindlin, the 78-year-old received a hefty raise in 2010, doubling her wages to $45million and then to $47million as season 25 of Judge Judy aired on CBS last month

Rebel’s suit said Sheindlin accepted the lucrative salary as a ‘proceed’ tied to the ‘costs of production’ as a way to deny profits to Lawrence.

It also alleged CBS was unreasonable for paying Sheindlin so much.

Sheindlin called Lawrence ‘an unethical and self-dealing talent agent, and one of the luckiest men in the world’. 

Judge Judy’s raise meant she made $900,000 per work day. Rebel’s suit also highlighted TV personalities David Letterman, Jay Leno and Conan O’Brien reported annual salaries of $28million or less, which it claimed were evidence that Sheindlin was overpaid. 

This case has been ongoing for five years, and the most recent ruling affirmed LA Superior Court Judge Ruper A Byrdsong’s decision on Sheindlin’s paycheck back in 2018. 

‘In any event, we have discovered no authority, and Rebel offers none, obligating an entity to reclassify a performer’s salary as something other than salary for accounting purposes,’ the ruling read.

Judge Judy's raise meant she made $900,000 per work day and became one of the highest-paid TV hosts of all time. But Judge Judy was also a fan favorite and remained No 1 Nielsen-rated among all court show programming throughout all 25 seasons. An average of 9million viewers watched the show daily

Judge Judy’s raise meant she made $900,000 per work day and became one of the highest-paid TV hosts of all time. But Judge Judy was also a fan favorite and remained No 1 Nielsen-rated among all court show programming throughout all 25 seasons. An average of 9million viewers watched the show daily

Rebel first filed its action on March 16, 2016. 

Sheindlin said two days later: ‘The fact that Richard Lawrence is complaining about my salary is actually hilarious. I met Mr. Lawrence for 2 hours some 21 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.’

CBS had no comment on the recent ruling nor the lawsuit overall. 

In March of last year Sheindlin stepped down from the Judge Judy bench on CBS after 12,500 episodes and announced she is working on a show with Amazon’s IMDb TV titled Judy Justice.

Sheindlin said she had ‘no issue’ negotiating her new salary with Amazon and, thanks to the trial that made her salary so publicly known, ‘the folks at Amazon understood what the parameters were,’ she said. 

Sheindlin first appeared on TV in 1993 when a 60 Minutes segment featured her presiding over Manhattan Family Court, characteristically shocking courtrooms with quotes such as ‘beauty fades, dumb is forever’ while snapping at defendants for chewing gum.

The segment caught the eye of TV producers and three years later Judge Judy debuted on daytime TV. 

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