She's been telling it like it is for nearly two decades on television. Judge Judy is the top rated daytime program and syndicated show.
NewsChannel 3's Laila Muhammad went behind the scenes of the Judge Judy show in Los Angeles.
“Some people will say I have a sharp tongue, a caustic wit, sometimes I’m a little intemperate,” Judith Sheindlin said.
“They watch me and they know that you can rely at the end of the day that most of the time the right thing is going to happen and that I respect the truth telling process.”
Even before Judge Judy became a household name, she was known for her rapid-fire questions and quick decisions as a judge in New York's family court, where she retired. Since then, Judge Judy has cut to the chase while presiding over small claims cases from across the country.
“Even though it's our 19th year, people still tune in because they can't believe what she's going to say,” said executive producer Randy Douthit.
He says there’s no real creativity to the show. It’s just court and nothing is scripted. “We tape every other week and it's usually two or three days of taping, and each day is a full week's worth of shows,” he said.
The cases are real, the people are real and so is the bailiff. Bailiff Petri Hawkins-Byrd and Judge Judy have a bond that began before there was ever a Judge Judy show. Byrd was her bailiff in New York's family court.
Byrd moved from New York to California in 1990, left law enforcement and started a new career as a high school counselor.
“I'm reading the paper and I happened to read this name I recognized. Judge Judy Sheindlin. They were developing a TV show for her. I get all excited,” Byrd said.
He wrote a congratulatory letter to Judge Judy. “At the end of the letter, I'm like, hey, if you ever need a bailiff, I still look good in uniform. She called me about three weeks later to thank me for the letter. She said I know you were kidding but we do need a bailiff. And the rest as they say is history,” Byrd said.
Byrd says he’s not afraid to let Judge Judy know when she’s wrong.
“I don't get afraid, I give afraid,” Byrd said. “I've always been bold enough and honest enough to say what I think and she appreciates that. “
You can catch Judge Judy weeknights on WGNT 27 from 6-7 p.m. To show her appreciation for her longtime fans, Judge Judy is offering her new book, for free.