How Judge Judy Really Makes Her Money

Judge Judy doesn't come to play. The courtroom judge — whose full name is Judge Judith Sheindlin — has been hitting that gavel for over two decades, with her daytime show, Judge Judy, which kicked off in 1996, according to Forbes. However, in March 2020, Judge Judy announced that she would be ending her show after the 2020-2021 season, capping off with a grand total of 25 seasons.

Sheindlin gained a reputation for her quick wit and humor when she worked as a family court judge in New York, per Forbes, which led to some high-profile pieces about her. The Los Angeles Times did a profile on her and she was interviewed by 60 Minutes. This did the trick, and she got the offer to appear on a courtroom reality show.

Sheindlin said at the 2017 Forbes Women's Summit: "Many people, as I did in the beginning, get stuck with a job they don't really like. If you're not doing something that you love to do, find something that you love to do because it will make your whole life different." Well, Sheindlin's whole life was different in an amazing way and she's made a ton of money. Here's where it comes from.

Judge Judy sets the tone when it comes to her CBS salary

Judge Judy Sheindlin is the boss both in the courtroom and in the financial department. Curious what she's worth? Well, Celebrity Net Worth rings her in at $440 million. So how does she make all this money? Sheindlin made the majority of her money from her show, Judge Judy, which earned her $47 million per year since 2012, according to Forbes. That's not even it. Sheindlin created and produced another reality show, Hot Bench, a legal show that has three judges on the bench.

2017 was a major year for Sheindlin financially. She earned an estimated $100 million from selling the rights from her show to CBS, according to CNBC. That's some deal.

Sheindlin explained to The New York Times how she'd up her salary for her Judge Judy show. Every three years, she has dinner with the president of CBS Television Distribution and at the end of the meal, she slides a sealed envelope across the table of her desired salary. One time, a president presented an envelope with a different salary and she shut that down by saying, "This isn't a negotiation." Sheindlin sure knows a thing or two about holding her own.