All You Need To Know About Court TV Shows Like 'Judge Judy'

Have you ever watched Jude Judy or Judge Mathis Show and thought to yourself, are these people for real? Well you may not have been far off in questioning the authenticity of these shows. In reality some of the elements for this show are "made-for-tv".

Very little is real on TV. We all know that, or at least we should but then again there are people who still think Wrestling is  not scripted. 

Television is a medium that relies on perfection to work. Reality is boring, contrary to what these so called reality shows wants us to believe. 

If one had to put a camera in someone's home without the manipulation of the situation and the edits that go on in post-productions for these reality shows, trust me no-one would watch these so called "reality shows".

Even traditional news shows have an element of performance in them. Any cameraman will tell you that people start "acting" as soon as they see a camera around. It is a natural reaction we have as human beings. 

Some protests that involve violence or distraction of property happen because people want to perform for the cameras. 

Court shows seemed like the only thing on TV that looked real but do not be fooled. They too have to play the game. 

Take the most famous and successful courtroom show in the world, Judge Judy which is hosted by real judge Judy Sheindlin, for instance. Not every thing on that show is real. 

In order to ensure a full audience, the producers of Judge Judy hire extras to fill the entire gallery. Though tickets are not offered for the show, arrangements can sometimes be made with Sheindlin's production staff to allow fans of the show into the audience. 

Once all the cases are through, all of the audience members receive payment. 

These extras are also instructed to appear as if they are having discussions with each other before and after each case, so the bailiff may make such announcements as "Order! All rise" and "Parties are excused; you may step out." 

As far as the court cases are concerned however, the show acquires cases by people submitting claims to them via the show's website or phone number. 

The production's employees call both parties in advance and ask them questions about their case to make sure it is suitable for Judge Judy. If the parties agree to be on the show and sign a waiver, agreeing that arbitration in Sheindlin's court is final and cannot be pursued elsewhere (unless she dismisses the lawsuit without prejudice), their case will air on Judge Judy.

The award limit on Judge Judy, as on most "syndi-court" shows (and most small claims courts in the U.S.), is $5,000. The award for each judgement is paid by the producers of the show, from a fund reserved for the purpose.

Both the plaintiff and the defendant receive $100 (U.S.) for their appearance as well as $35 a day, paid to them by the show. The litigants' stay lasts for the number of days that the show does taping for that week, which is two or three days.

In addition, the airfare (or other means of travel) and hotel expenses of the litigants and their witnesses are covered by the show. If there is an exchange of property, Sheindlin signs an order, and a sheriff or marshal oversees the exchange.

There are no lawyers present, and participants defend themselves on Judge Judy, as is standard in a small claims court. Sheindlin sees only a half-page complaint and a defense response prior to the taping of the cases, sometimes only moments before.

A decision made on the Judge Judy's show had to be overturned after she overstepped her jurisdiction. The court overturned the custody and visitation part of her decision on two grounds. 
  • First, it was a matter that was not covered by the agreement to arbitrate. 
  • Second, as a matter of public policy, an arbitrator could not decide child custody and visitation rights. 
In essence the court proceedings and judgements you see on these court shows are somewhat real but the show itself is staged. 

Television is for performers so it is not surprising that everything you see on it has an element of "performance". 

Now you know!

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