Amazon’s Freebie Embraces the Judge Judy Universe

Amazon's Freebie Embraces the Judge Judy Universe

In 2021, Judge Judith Sheindlin, the razor-tongued court show star, breaks away from the dying medium of daytime broadcast syndication and joins Amazon for a streaming-era experiment.

Fewer people were watching traditional daytime television, including programs such as “Judge Judy”. Is it because they were bored with the content? Or was the decline – as Amazon suspected – more about convenience and delivery route? To find out, the company hired Judge Sheindlin to produce and star in a new court show, “Judy Justice”, and made it available on FreeVee, a little-known, free streaming service supported by advertising. Is.

“It was a risk,” Judge Sheindlin recalled over lunch this month, “but one that bothered me.”

According to Amazon, “Judy Justice” quickly became FreeVee’s No. 1 original show, clocking more than 150 million hours in two years, and the company was recently awarded Judge Sheindlin, 80, two spinoff shows and a fourth unscripted show. inspired to. Still under wraps. Some people inside Amazon Studios, which is in Culver City, California, are jokingly referring to Judge Sheindlin’s programming expansion as Judy-Verse, a play on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s interconnected stories.

As She Builds a Mini Empire in Amazon, Judge Sheindlin Is Adding to What’s Known nepo-verse, (Insert an irritated roll of his eyes about that sentence.) Nepotism has always been prevalent in Hollywood, but recently there has been a rise in the number of actors, directors, singers and reality stars benefiting from family ties. . shockingly large, New York magazine deemed 2022 “the year of the Napo baby”.

Judge Sheindlin’s granddaughter Sarah Rose appears as a law clerk on “Judy Justice,” which Amazon recently renewed for two more seasons. (“I’m more comfortable interjecting in front of the camera – in a respectful way – to share my perspective,” said Sarah Rose.) A spinoff, “tribunal justiceFreevey arrived last Friday, with cases handled by three legal professionals, one of whom is Judge Sheindlin’s son, Adam Levy. New episodes will be released each weekday until December.

Upcoming series “Justice on Trial” will examine landmark court cases, partly through re-enactments and featuring Daniel T. menzer, a criminal defense attorney in New York City who happens to be married to one of Judge Sheindlin’s daughters. The one-hour episode will focus on the 1925 Scopes trial, in which a science teacher was prosecuted for telling students about Darwin’s theory of evolution. “That’s more relevant today than ever,” Judge Sheindlin said, pointing to Scopes. Florida ban On classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Judge Sheindlin and Amazon declined to discuss a fourth show, which is in development for release on FreeVee next year.

“Judge Sheindlin is a brand,” said Lauren Anderson, head of original programming for Amazon’s ad-supported streaming operation. “It’s not that we’re saying we want 20 more court shows. But we’re always listening when she’s pitching something.

The freebie courtroom is on the rolls. The service, which used to be called IMDb TV, is also home to “Jury Duty”, a hit documentary-sitcom in which an unknown man unknowingly participates in a trial between actors. Free, ad-supported streaming platforms — others include Pluto TV, Tubi and the Roku Channel — have become one of the fastest-growing sectors in media, as some subscription streaming services raise prices to attract cost-conscious viewers. prompting them to look for alternatives. ,

But Judge Sheindlin remains the main attraction. To cast family members in his show, he suggested that anyone who doesn’t like it can pound the sand. “I’m not going to bring someone in, support someone, unless they’re very good,” she said. “End of story.”

Judge Sheindlin Took a Slice of Rigatoni Bolognese, and This Reporter Tried It Again: Why Was Her Son Adam the Best Choice for the Third “Tribunal Justice” Judge?

“Look, everybody wants to be in the entertainment business – it’s glamorous,” she said. “But not everyone has the ability to connect with an audience And legal credibility. Adam is a meticulous lawyer with personality.

Perhaps a “Kardashian”-style reality show could be next, one reporter offered dryly. She shrugged off that idea, joking that it would involve her and her husband, Jerry Sheindlin, 89, who appears on “Jeopardy!” He shouted out answers, with a hint of annoyance. (He also apparently enjoys scrolling Instagram. “Horses,” he said with a sigh. “Nothing but horses.”)

“Tribunal Justice” Mr. Levy, a former district attorney for Putnam County in New York, is joined by Monarch Justice Patricia DiMango, who stepped down from the state Supreme Court in Brooklyn in 2014, and Yale-educated civil litigator Tanya Acker. , Justice DiMango and Ms. Acker previously starred in “Hot Bench”, a show created by Judge Sheindlin that continues in syndication.

“The elephant in the room is nepotism,” Mr. Levy said pre-emptively at the start of an interview at his Beverly Hills hotel. “If Judy wasn’t the producer and executive producer, I wouldn’t be here. I know that. But putting that aside for a minute, I know that I’m good at what I do on the court.

He continued, “I have worked very hard to develop my reputation as a lawyer, one of substance who truly respects the law and the judicial process, cannot be undermined in this way. “

Mr. Levy, 54, began his career as a Long Island prosecutor in the early 1990s. A decade earlier, while serving as Putnam County district attorney, he became embroiled in a nasty feud with a local sheriff, who accused him of interfering with a rape investigation. Mr. Levy denied any wrongdoing and sued for defamation. he won, with the sheriff forced to apologize Pay another $150,000 for lying.

Judges of most courts do not examine the bulk of the evidence before hearing a case. (Once you’ve adjudicated one dog-grooming incident, you’ve adjudicated them all.) Mr. Levy, however, has refused to act on “tribunal justice” the way that Masses of paperwork put pressure on producers and force justice. DiMango and Ms. Acker raised their game, Judge Sheindlin said.

An early “Tribunal Justice” episode featured a Sunburn defendant, Brenda Beaver, who was accused of absconding with $760 worth of property. Mr. Levy started off with soft questions. But his behavior changed when he realized that he had caught the plaintiff in a lie.

“stop!” He shouted. “You show me some proof! Now!”

As part of her recent deal with Amazon, Judge Sheindlin will continue to work on “Judy Justice” until at least 2025, when she will be 82. Has he started thinking about passing the baton?

“The short answer is yes,” she said. “But it’s not just passing a baton.” She said that she wants her worldview to be reflected. “Like me, Adam is a person with a personal responsibility,” she said.

In a separate interview, Mr. Levy talked about his style.

“If someone comes to court and lies or exaggerates or does something they shouldn’t, I want to make sure they walk out of there shamed and humiliated so they don’t do it again, ” They said.

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