Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by retired Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin. The show features Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small claims disputes within a simulated courtroom set. All parties involved must sign contracts, agreeing to arbitration under Sheindlin. The series is in first-run syndication and distributed by CBS Television Distribution.
Judge Judy, which premiered on September 16, 1996, reportedly revitalized the court show genre. Only two other arbitration-based reality court shows preceded it, The People's Court and Jones and Jury. Sheindlin has been credited with introducing the "tough" adjudicating approach into the judicial genre, which has led to several imitators. The two court shows that outnumber Judge Judy's seasons, The People's Court and Divorce Court, have both lasted via multiple lives of production and shifting arbiters, making Sheindlin's span as a television arbiter the longest.
By 2011, Judge Judy had been nominated 14 consecutive years for Daytime Emmy Awards without ever winning. On June 14, 2013, however, Judge Judy won its first Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program on its 15th nomination. It is the first long-running, highly-rated court show to win an Emmy.
Discussions of a sexual nature are not commonplace, however, some cases may involve discussion of past relations between the plaintiff and the defendant, or their relationships with other people. Some episodes may contain references to sexually transmitted diseases, infidelity, and in less frequent instances, somewhat explicit descriptions of sex acts (though terms deemed ill-suited for network television are muted).
Contains only verbal references to past acts of violence and threat. Opposing parties may react aggressively to one another.
Contains only infrequent mild coarse language in some episodes, including terms such as "bitch" "pissed" and "crap", however, the use of such terms are typically used in the context of the opposing parties recalling past incidents in which such terms may have been used. Stronger terms are muted.
Contains only verbal references to alcohol misuse and illicit substances in some episodes, and such behaviour is not condoned.
Impressionable viewers may find the themes in some episodes confusing and/or upsetting.