Estimating Judge Judy Sheindlin’s salary per episode is tricky—she considers it “a little unseemly” to talk about her compensation—but it’s safe to say the 78-year-old is still one of the highest-paid personalities on television. Her longtime court show Judge Judy ended in July 2021, but Sheindlin is returning to TV as the star of Judy Justice, an IMDb TV series that hits Amazon’s ad-supported streaming service on Nov. 1, 2021.
“The Honorable Judy Sheindlin, retired Judge of the Manhattan family Court, brings her signature blend of sharp wit and wisdom, hilarious candor, and unwavering honesty that has made her America’s favorite judge for over 25 years, as she presides over real cases, arbitrates binding decisions, and delivers what only she can: ‘Judy Justice,’” Amazon Studios says. Ahead of that new show, here’s what we know about Sheindlin’s finances.
Sheindlin earned $47 million during the ‘Judge Judy’ era, and she’s likely earning at least as much for ‘Judy Justice’
In Nov. 2018, Forbes named Sheindlin the world’s highest-paid TV host, noting that she was receiving $47 million per year for hosting Judge Judy and producing the syndicated court show Hot Bench. She earned three times that amount the prior year, since she got an estimated $100 million from selling the rights to the Judge Judy library to CBS.
And in May 2021, Sheindlin indicated that she was earning at least that much for Judy Justice. “Without giving you specifics, because that's a little unseemly, my compensation has not been a secret,” she told The Hollywood Reporter. “It's been out there for a long time—not by me, but it got out there and had its own life. So, the folks at Amazon understood what the parameters were. There was no issue.”
She committed to 120 episodes of ‘Judy Justice’
Talking to Page Six in Nov. 2020, Sheindlin said she would be delivering 120 episodes of Judy Justice—for starters, at least. “My sense is the audience can take a little more of me,” she said. In fact, Deadline reported that IMDb TV’s Judy Justice order is believed to be the largest initial order for a streaming service.
“Program, characters, the set, everything will be different,” Sheindlin added in her Page Six interview. “Me, the same. Me always in the middle chair. Governing by committee is not my strong suit. And unless the audience wants to see me in a two-piece bathing suit, I’ll wear a robe. Different color. Maybe eggplant color. I didn’t want to retire. I don’t have hobbies. I enjoy working. Another thing: It’s streaming. On a rainy weekend, with enough vodka, I can download me anytime.”
For the sake of argument, if Sheindlin is earning still $47 million per year, and if she’s delivering all 120 episodes over the span of 365 days, that would put her salary-per-episode at more than $391k per episode. Other TV stars earn more per episode—Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon make $2 million for each episode of The Morning Show, according to TheRichest—but it seems Sheindlin has them beat by volume!