Judge Judy clause changes whole show
One of television's most dependable institutions, Judge Judy, is finally coming to an end after 25 seasons.
"CBS sort of felt, I think, they wanted to optimally utilise the repeats of my program," she said.
"Now they have 25 years of my re-runs," she added.
But there's a surprising fact about the show that even some of its most loyal fans may not realise.
Over the years, Judge Judy has adjudicated a seemingly inexhaustible supply of real-life small claim disputes, ruling that those in the wrong must pay the other party anywhere up to $US5000 in damages.
You might wonder - how, after so many years on air, does Judge Judy still manage to get willing participants for the show? Why would anyone run the risk of international TV humiliation and a public dressing down when you could tend to the matter in the relative privacy of a small claims court?
Well, the answer is simple. In return for appearing on the show, the producers cover all costs in Judge Judy's rulings.
That's right: every single one of Judge Judy's rulings - that aggrieved party 'A' has to pay aggrieved party 'B' a sum of several hundred or thousand dollars to cover the costs of trashing their house / totalling their car / killing their budgie - said costs are covered by the show, from a fund reserved specifically for this purpose.
And not only will you not lose out financially by going on Judge Judy, you actually stand to make a little bit of money - even if she rules against you.
Both the plaintiff and the defendant receive an appearance fee for their time on the show. This appearance fee can vary from $100 to $500, depending on time spent filming.
In addition to this, all travel and accommodation costs are covered by the show: Judge Judy producers will fly you to Los Angeles, put you up in a hotel, and fly you home, regardless of whether you win or lose your case. Think of it as an all-expenses-paid holiday, with your one obligation showing up for a televised 'court' appearance.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this is a pretty sweet deal, and at least one fake case has slipped through the cracks: a particularly weird 2010 case of alleged animal abuse was actually concocted by a group of friends who just wanted to score a free LA holiday. They certainly made for good TV:
Just remember, the next time you're cheering as Judge Judy dresses down some small-time crook, demanding they pay up - they'll be doing nothing of the sort, and in fact going home on a free flight a few hundred dollars richer.