If you – like I – feel that daytime broadcast TV programming is a stinking morass of titilation, innuendo, mindless psycho-babble, self-debasement, and stupefaction, the nyou might be appalled that Judge Judy has new contract for $25M a year. I don’t really give a hoot – if she can get it, more power to her, but what’s more interesting to me is the oddly defensive tone that the NY Post story takes in presenting the news:
- “Despite the fact that everybody keeps talking about hard economic times, there’s always money to pay for talent,” says Mediaweek analyst Marc Berman.
“If a show is successful because of its talent, they won’t want to lose that show and they’ll figure out a way to come up with the money for these people if they have to – when the money is needed – even millions and millions of dollars. It’s there,” Berman says.
“They didn’t want to lose Judy, so they paid her.”
That’s because “Judge Judy” has been the top-rated court show on TV for years now – and is one of daytime’s top-rated shows all around, often outrating perennial frontrunner “Oprah” here in New York, where both shows go head-to-head.
And there’s another reason why a syndicator like Paramount’s Big Ticket Television is willing to shell out the big bucks to Sheindlin – who now makes more per year than any of the stars of NBC’s prime-time hit, “Friends” (who each pull down $1 million per episode).
“In the case of ‘Judge Judy,’ which airs in early fringe in most of the country, the 4 p.m. timeslot is a tremendously lucrative time period because it leads into [local] news,” says Garnett Losak, vice president and director of programming for Petry Media.
“Stations are willing to pay a fair amount for the 4 p.m. timeslot . . . especially if they can get a show that can compete effectively with ‘Oprah’,” Losak says.
” ‘Judge Judy’ is compatible with ‘Oprah’ if not more compatible, since it brings the right demos, particularly adults 50-plus, to the local news,” she says.
“For the syndicator, no matter what happens, to own that [4 p.m.] timeslot, on very strong stations across the country, is of enormous value in both the short- and long-term.
“Most stations aren’t paying ‘Oprah’ prices for ‘Judge Judy’ – but they are paying very good license fees.”
It’s also fair to say that Sheindlin works pretty darn hard for her money. While the stars of “Friends” produce 24 new episodes each season – and will make only 18 episodes next season – Sheindlin produces, on average, hundreds of new episodes of “Judge Judy” each season.
And it goes on similarly – i wonder why the writers care if we think Judge Judy and her daytime cohorts are overpaid. Why do they try to hard to convince us they are not? Hmmm.