Daytime queen Judy Sheindlin is expanding her footprint with a second syndicated court show. Hot Bench, created by Sheindlin, is set to launch in the fall with clearances in 75% of the country. It hails from CBS TV Distribution, which is behind Sheindlin’s top-rated Judge Judy and has a deal with her. This marks the first time Sheindlin has created a show. Hot Bench has been sold to the CBS Television Stations and stations from Tribune, Sinclair Broadcast Group, Cox Media Group and Meredith Corp, among others. The strip will air mostly in afternoon and early-fringe time periods. “Judy Sheindlin has been a very important part of the CBS family for many years, and everyone at our company is excited to launch this new show and bring Judy’s creative vision to the air,” said Armando Nuñez, President and CEO of the CBS Global Distribution Group. Hot Bench, executive produced by Judge Judy exec producer/director Randy Douthit, features a panel of three judges (Judge Patricia DiMango and attorneys Tanya Acker and Larry Bakman) hearing court cases, arguing the merits of the case amongst themselves and rendering a verdict. (The term “hot bench” is used to describe a court where the judge or judges frequently interrupt lawyers’ presentations with questions, often leading to lively exchanges.) “When my husband Jerry and I were in Ireland recently, we visited the courts and watched a three-judge bench, which I found both fascinating and compelling,” Sheindlin said. “I immediately thought what a terrific and unique idea for a television program that brings the court genre to the next level.” Here is more info on the show’s stars:
DiMango is a New York State Supreme Court Judge in Brooklyn. According to a recent New York Times front page story, she is known for her “brash style and forceful personality,” as well as her efficiency in closing old cases. She was appointed to the bench by Mayor Rudolph W. Guiliani in 1995. She graduated from St. John’s University School of Law and received her master’s degree in developmental psychology from Teacher’s College at Columbia University while teaching third grade at Public School 164 in Brooklyn.
Acker is a Los Angeles-based practicing attorney and political, social and legal commentator. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and earned her undergraduate degree at Howard University in Washington DC. Her television appearances include “Good Morning America,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” “CNBC Reports,” “Larry King Live” and “Issues With Jane Velez Mitchell.” She has also appeared on Sky News in Great Britain and has been a contributor to the “Huffington Post.”
Bakman, a member of the State Bar in California and New York, has had a private legal practice in Los Angeles since 1983. His practice focuses on defending clients charged with complex federal and state criminal violations, such as conspiracy, fraud, assaults and narcotic possession and distribution. Bakman is a graduate of Southwestern Law School and earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA.