Judge Judith Sheindlin has been the queen of court television for as long as many of us can remember.
Her matter-of-fact, no-nonsense rulings had us all hooked from the moment she uttered the words "um is not an answer."
Before she was the star of a hit reality court TV show, she was working as a supervising judge in a New York family court. Now, she's the second highest paid TV reality/news/host with an annual salary of $47 million!
How does she do it?
In a deposition obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, Judge Judy explains how she negotiates her salary with CBS.
“CBS had no choice but to pay me what I wanted, because otherwise I could take it wherever I wanted to take it, or do it myself,” she said.
If Judge Judy produces the show herself, she says she could earn an additional $20 million. So far, she seems content to let CBS take care of that though.
Every three years she has a 'renegotiation' with broadcaster CBS.
She meets with the president of the company for dinner at the Grill on the Alley, where she hands him an envelope. The envelope contains a list of demands that must be met if CBS wishes to keep her program.
Judge Judy says:
"We sit across the table, and I hand him the envelope and I say, 'Don't read it now, let's have a nice dinner. Call me tomorrow. You want it, fine. Otherwise, I'll produce it myself.' That's the negotiation."
With 10.3 million viewers a week, and ownership of the rights to produce the show herself, Judge Judy certainly has the leverage.
Her annual salary of $47 million puts her at No. 2 on the list of TV's highest-paid reality show or news hosts. Ellen Degeneres takes the top spot earning $50 million every year.
[h/t Fortune ]