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Judge Judy Contract Negotiations Revealed and They Prove She's Just As Tough Outside The Courtroom

Fortune

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 ]