Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by former Manhattan Family Court Judge Judith Sheindlin. The show featured Sheindlin as she adjudicated real-life small-claims disputes within a simulated courtroom set. Prior to the proceedings, all involved parties signed arbitration contracts agreeing to Sheindlin's ruling. The show aired in first-run syndication. As it was during its active years in production, it continues to be distributed by CBS Media Ventures in syndication, now in reruns that still draw notably high ratings.The series premiered on September 16, 1996, and concluded on July 23, 2021. The court show ended with its 25th season after Sheindlin and CBS renewed their contract for the final time in 2017. During its run in new episodes, the show did not release airings in the order they were taped. Thus the final filmed case of the series aired on June 8, 2021. While latter seasons of the show currently rerun in syndication, the first and second seasons stream on Paramount Global's Pluto TV "Courtroom" channel as well as the "Judge Judy" channel.
Judge Judy had an impact on courtroom programming, reviving the genre as a whole. It was the highest Nielsen-rated court show for the entirety of its 25-year run in original episodes, also frequently ranking as highest-rated television broadcast in daytime television and syndication. Of the court shows with a single series run (without on-and-off production from cancellation turned series revivals/recasting), Judge Judy had the most seasons. The series also won three Emmy Awards; earned Sheindlin a Guinness World Records recognition for longest serving television arbitrator; and originated many courtroom programming trends, from use of eponymous show titles to cold open trailers. Two court spin-offs have been generated from Judge Judy: Judy Justice, starring Sheindlin as judge; and upcoming Tribunal, featuring Byrd as bailiff. Like Judy Justice, Tribunal is created by Sheindlin and will stream on Amazon Freevee.