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September 4, 2015

Why 'Judge Judy' Rules Daytime Television

by Allison Waldman, posted Jun 16th 2010 11:00AM
Judge JudyWho's the queen of daytime television? It's not 'All My Children's' Susan Lucci or Oprah Winfrey or any of the ladies on 'The View.' Nope, the woman who rules daytime wears a long black robe and her name is Judy. That's right, 'Judge Judy,' who has been on the air for 15 years, is now the daytime diva.

In the recent May sweeps period, 'Judge Judy,' the syndicated courtroom reality show presided over by former jurist Judith Sheindlin, was the most-watched daytime show of all with nearly 6.4 million total viewers per episode. That's an increase of over 10 percent from a year ago and good enough to topple 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' from the top slot -- even in its final go-round!

'The Oprah Winfrey Show' averaged 6.2 million viewers in May -- down nine percent from last year. In distant third place with 3.8 million viewers was 'Dr. Phil,' which is produced by Winfrey's company, Harpo.

Oprah WinfreyAnd 'Judy' should face even less competition in the future, since 'Oprah' ends its run in September 2011. Winfrey will move over to OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network), though whether she'll host a similar talk show is uncertain.

What is it about 'Judge Judy' that makes it such compelling viewing? Well, as someone who's recently gotten into the daily ritual of tuning in to her courtroom, here's the reasons why Judge Judy makes my day.



1. She's smart as a whip.
It's not surprising that Judy is smart. She's like a wise owl who has been around and knows it all. When you see people come into the courtroom thinking they're oh-so-clever and have their cases all figured out, she sees right through them and tells them what's what.

They invariably get their comeuppance from Judge Judy. She's smarter than any person who thinks they're going to outwit her. And she's a legal eagle. You can only imagine how great she was as an attorney.

2. She doesn't suffer fools gladly. In other words, Judge Judy is unwilling to tolerate stupid people. She calls them out on their foolishness, and there's nothing as refreshing as watching Judge Judy identify a dumb situation or ridiculous plaintiff and cut them down to size.

For instance, a recent plaintiff tried to claim hundreds of dollars in custom rims and tires for his car as a gift. It was a gift he gave himself! Judy blasted him and refused to let him get them back in the suit. Judy and Byrd, her trusty bailiff, often share a good laugh over some of the more ridiculous participants.



3. She's an antidote to bull.
If you watch enough daytime television, you're liable to hear a lot of filler and malarkey. The cable news shows, for instance, are loaded with hot air. I love the soap operas, but they can spend a week on one scene or storyline, going over the same points over and over again. If you turn on game shows, you'll hear plenty of loud squeals and over-hyped happiness. Well, click on 'Judge Judy' for clarity.

There's no hot air or spin or hype. She tells it like it is whether people want to hear it or not. Today, as an example, she gave it to a woman who admitted to texting her boyfriend while at dinner with a friend. Going off on a rant, Judy wondered how someone -- anyone -- could be so rude. She added that texting in theaters, while others are there to see a movie, was distracting and disturbing.

4. She's got charisma.
Yeah, I mean it. I love watching Judy in action. She's hilarious! Her facial expressions, her turns of phrases, her asides to Byrd. The show is entertaining as hell because of her charisma.

If you were writing a fictional character with attitude and style and personality, you would create a Judith Sheindlin. She's like the Jimmy Cagney of TV judges, and that's pure star power.

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