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Judge Judy, Having Conquered Streaming, Returns to Regular TV

The long-reigning queen of syndication is returning to her roots. Judge Judy Sheindlin has inked a multiyear deal to put her streaming effort, Freevee original Judy Justice, on broadcast channels in more than 100 U.S. markets this fall.

This is, of course, a double-dipping scenario. Judy Justice will continue to premiere new episodes on Amazon’s Freevee and Prime Video. The streamer initially launched the show in November 2021 after Sheindlin, long the highest-paid host in TV, ended the 25-year run of the titular Judge Judy. “What a full circle moment,” Sheindlin said in a statement accompanying Wednesday’s news. “This continues to be quite an adventure!”

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Judy Justice, which is produced by Amazon MGM Studios and Sox Entertainment, is an update to the arbitration-based format. Sheindlin remains front and center but is joined by law clerk Sarah Rose (her granddaughter), court stenographer Whitney Kumar and bailiff Kevin Rasco. As always, nonsense of any kind is not tolerated.

“We remain honored that Her Honor agreed to go on this streaming adventure with us,” said Lauren Anderson, Amazon MGM Studios’ head of AVOD, unscripted and targeted programming. “Having firmly cemented her place as an icon of broadcast television, Judge Sheindlin took a pioneering risk bringing her new show and brand to a then-nascent service. Not only are we thrilled that her common sense, life skills building approach to justice has been a hit with cross-generational Amazon customers, we are beyond delighted that we, in partnership with Sox Entertainment, are now able to deliver Judy Justice back to hundreds of broadcast markets — and broadcast audiences — across North America. Full circle indeed.”

This expansion of distribution comes at an interesting time for Amazon, as Prime Video is on the verge of converting its basic plan to an ad-supported one. Freevee, née IMDb TV, was the streamer’s original foray into AVOD.

When she wrapped her former series in 2021, Sheindlin made it clear in a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter that slowing down was not part of the deal in her transition to streaming.

“I’m not tired,” she said. “I don’t play golf or tennis. I have no desire to learn how to play mahjong, chess or checkers. I know what I like to do. Why, at my stage in life, would I try to find something else when I already know what I like? And this isn’t a 9-to-5 job. I’ve still got the time to see the children I love, the grandchildren who are growing up very fast and the cute mate who I still get a kick out of.”

It’s also very clear why broadcasters would jump to get back in the Judy business. Although she hasn’t taped an episode of her old show in three years, Judge Judy repeats fetched 6.7 million viewers during the first weeks of January. That’s more than any new episodes of any syndicated talk show.

In addition to Judy Justice, Sheindlin produces Tribunal Justice for Freevee. She also made a rare appearance on the campaign trail last weekend, stumping for Nikki Haley in her effort to nab the GOP nomination from presumptive party choice Donald Trump.

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