Judge Judy Explains Why She Doesn't Negotiate With CBS

'Their back's to the wall'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2017 3:57 PM CDT
In this photo taken May 21, 2015, Judge Judith Sheindlin speaks during a high school graduation ceremony in Shiprock, NM.   (Alexa Rogals/The Daily Times via AP)

(Newser) – Judge Judy's newly released testimony in a legal dispute between her network (CBS) and a talent agency is just about as awesome as you'd expect from the outspoken jurist. The dispute itself has quite a few ins and outs, with Vulture summing it up nicely: The talent agency gets 5% of Judge Judy's net profits, but only after CBS pays Judy her $47 million salary, so it's claiming to be underpaid; CBS, meanwhile, says the talent agency is actually overpaid since it had nothing to do with the creation or production of the show beyond representing three of the show's early producers. But Judy's testimony from 2016, which was just obtained by the Hollywood Reporter and published for the first time, is a must-read. In it, she describes her negotiation process with CBS every few years, which isn't actually a negotiation at all—it's just Judy getting what she wants.

Her contract allows her to produce the show herself if she so desires, she explains in the testimony, and if she did that she'd actually make $20 million more. She doesn't, because "I like the uncomplicated life I lead," but the option is always there. So when it's negotiation time, she sits down with a CBS exec for dinner and hands him an envelope with her demands (salary and otherwise), and each time those demands are met. The one year a different exec tried to hand her his own envelope, she refused to even look at it because "this isn't a negotiation," as she told him. "'You want [the show], fine. Otherwise, I'll produce it myself.' That's the negotiation." She added that CBS has "no choice but to pay me what I [want]" and that the network's "back [is] to the wall," because "they've tried to find another Judy," but they can't. More from the testimony at THR. (Read more Judge Judy stories.)

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