Judy Sheindlin might be the one facing the judge next year. Today, the TV host and CBS were handed a trial date of October 23, 2017, for a lawsuit over the profits from her long-running show. If no deal is reached, the House of Moonves and Rebel Entertainment are heading toward a maybe not-so-civil faceoff over the big bucks Rebel says it is owed by the celebrity judge and the network.
With the $47 million annual salary of the former family court judge near the heart of Rebel’s action, L.A. Superior Court Judge Yvette Plazuelos also said Wednesday during a status conference that a final status conference will be held October 17, 2017.
The matter already has seen one deposition of Judge Judy take place by Rebel’s lawyers from Freedman + Taitelman LLP. Another Sheindlin sit-down is in the offing. CBS boss Les Moonves, while not on a deposition list, also is among those expected to be deposed.
First filed on March 14 by the successor-in-interest to the talent agency that originally packaged the Sheindlin-fronted series, the case has seen CBS hit back on April 15 with allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation. Rebel is claiming that it has not been paid its contractually obliged cut of the now-supposedly-in-the-red syndicated show and its Hot Bench spinoff since 2010. Judge Judy is a money loser on paper, says Rebel, because Judge Judy herself is paid $47 million a year – making her the highest-paid host in TV.
Alleging some fast accounting moves by defendants CBS Studios, CBS Corporation and producers and CBS TV Studios-owned Big Ticket Entertainment, Rebel also claims that the Judge Judy show has grossed more than $1.7 billion since its 1996 launch. It also asserts that Sheindlin lobbied Moonves directly back in 2013 to have the spinoff Hot Bench put on the air.
In response, CBS and Sheindlin have said that talent agent Richard Lawrence and agency Abrams Rubaloff & Lawrence, who repped producers Sandi Spreckman and Kaye Switzer in the creation of Judge Judy, has received more than $17 million from the program over the past two decades. At almost 20 years on air as the scathing and no-nonsense judge, Sheindlin re-upped with CBS TV three years ago and in 2015 inked an extended deal to see her on Judge Judy until 2020 – which would more than years after the trial begins, if it happens.
CBS are repped by attorneys at L.A. firm Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP. Rebel Entertainment is represented by Bryan Freedman and Jordan Susman. Full disclosure: Freedman has acted for PMC, Deadline’s parent company, in a number of legal matters.