Do People Get Paid On Judge Judy

Ever wondered do people get paid on Judge Judy? I was wondering one day while home sick with one of my kids so I did a bit of research. What I found was pretty interesting.

In order to appear on the show, you need to contact the show either through the website ( or their 888-800-JUDY phone number. If your case gets selected you must travel to Los Angeles where the show is taped. Any travel expenses, as well as hotel expenses are paid for by the show. Both the participants in the case, the plaintiff and the defendant get $100 for their appearance, plus $35 a day for as many days as they are at the studio. The average stay is 2-3 days.

When the participants arrive at the studio, they are required to sign an agreement that they will abide by whatever Judge Judy decides. As Judge Judy’s court is a small claims court, the litigants represent themselves (no lawyers) and the monetary judgment amount is limited to $5,000. I often wondered how the average caliber of person who seems to want to be on the show could ever afford to pay the damages if they lost, but it turns out that’s not a problem. The damages are paid by the producers. This is probably a reason why they would want to go on the show, other than getting their 15 minutes of fame. So if Judge Judy awards the plaintiff $5,000 the SHOW pays it, NOT the defendant.

So the show can be great if Judge Judy finds in your favor, and it’s really not a big deal if she decides against you, other than being humiliated in front of millions of people that is! And the millions of people bring me to another interesting fact. The show averages about 10 million viewers, which I found absolutely crazy. What’s even crazier though is how much money Judge Judy makes! I couldn’t find really recent data, but what I could find stated that she signed a 4 year, $100 Million dollar contract in 2004. $25 million a year to basically make fun of stupid people and throw in a little legal judgment at the end. Absolutely nuts! And she’s renewed her contract at least twice since then at what I can only assume would be more money. The last data I could find was that she has a net worth of approximately $95 million which makes her the 13th richest woman in the entertainment industry according to Fortune Magazine.

The show tapes every other week in LA, but Judge Judy and her husband live in NY (and Naples, FL and Greenwich, CT) so what does she do? Takes her private jet to work! Wow. So do people get paid on Judge Judy? Nowhere near as much as she does!