July 13, 2016 Deadline Hollywood

CBS Sees ‘Judge Judy’ Lawsuit Over $47M Salary & Profits Get Trial Date

View full-size article

CBS Sees ‘Judge Judy’ Lawsuit Over $47M Salary & Profits Get Trial Date

by Dominic Patten
July 13, 2016 1:05pm

Judy Sheindlin may have to be the one facing the judge next year because today the TV host and CBS were handed a trial date in the lawsuit over the profits from her long running show. Sure, everyone might put down their legal swords and rhetoric and work out a deal or even get a dismissal but as of today the House of Moonves and Rebel Entertainment are heading towards a maybe not so civil face-off over the big bucks from Judge Judy the show that the latter say they are owned by the former.

With the $47 million dollar annual salary of the former family court judge near the heart of the action by Rebel, a L.A. Superior court judge on Wednesday set October 23, 2017 at 9:30 AM as the opening of the jury trial. Also in today’s status conference downtown, Judge Yvette Plazuelos named October 17 next year as when a final status conference will be held.

The matter has already seen one deposition of Judge Judy take place by Rebel’s Freedman + Taitelman LLP lawyers. Another Sheindlin sit-down in the offering as well as CBS boss Les Moonves, while not on a deposition list, is also among those expected to be additionally deposed.

First filed on March 14 by the successor-in-interest to the talent agency that originally packaged the Sheindlin-fronted series, the case has seen CBS hit back on April 15 with allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation. Rebel are claiming that they have not been paid their contractually obliged cut of the now supposedly in-the-red syndicated show and the Hot Bench spinoff since 2010. Judge Judy is a money loser on paper, says Rebel, because Judge Judy herself is paid $47 million a year – making her the highest paid host in TV.

Alleging some fast accounting moves by defendants CBS Studios, CBS Corporation, and producers and CBS TV Studios-owned Big Ticket Entertainment, Rebel also claim that Judge Judy the show has grossed over $1.7 billion since it first went on the air back in 1996. They also assert that Sheindlin lobbied Moonves directly back in 2013 to have the spinoff Hot Bench put on the air.

Image (2) CBS-Logo-jpg__130911192330-150x150__130914000154.jpg for post 586676

In response, CBS and Sheindlin herself have said that talent agent Richard Lawrence and agency Abrams Rubaloff & Lawrence, who repped producers Sandi Spreckman and Kaye Switzer in the creation of Judge Judy, has received over $17 million from the program over the past two decades. At almost 20 years on air as the scathing and no-nonsense judge, Sheindlin re-upped with CBS TV three years ago and in 2015 inked an extended deal to see her on Judge Judy until 2020 – which would still be over 2-years after the trial begins, if it happens.

CBS are repped by attorneys at L.A. firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. Rebel Entertainment is represented by Bryan Freedman and Jordan Susman. Full disclosure: Freedman has acted for PMC, Deadline’s parent company, in a number of legal matters.

Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy