Judge Judy is TV's highest-paid star

Her $47 million a year dominates daytime and is nearly double the salary of second-place Jon Stewart.

By Jason Notte Aug 26, 2013 8:09AM
Judy Sheindlin on Dec. 17, 2012 (© Greg Allen/Rex Features)She's been on TV for 17 years, she's frequently the loudest noise in doctor and mechanic waiting rooms and she's paid $47 million a year for both of the above.

Judith "Judge Judy" Sheindlin is the highest-paid personality on U.S. TV, according to TV Guide, and has become so basically by reviving the courtroom show and being a more belligerent, quotable Judge Wapner. The show just took home its first-ever Emmy Award -- for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program -- and continues its run of daytime dominance as competitors including Oprah Winfrey's long-running talk show and "Judge Joe Brown" fall by the wayside.

How long has Judge Judy been berating hopeless family court defendants who would have been better served going though the standard court system away from prying, judging, questionably employed eyes?

Not only are the children born when her show first went on the air driving now, but the woman who first spoofed Judge Judy on "Saturday Night Live," Cheri Oteri, hasn't been a cast member since 2000.

That consistency and longevity doesn't come cheap. The second-highest paid personality behind Sheindlin, Jon Stewart of "The Daily Show," is paid $25 million to $30 million a year after building a loyal audience and drawing young eyes to Viacom's (VIA) Comedy Central since 1999. His show is regularly the top late-night program among viewers ages 18 to 49, the demographic advertisers love, and is especially popular with the younger members of that age group.

Much of the reason Matt Lauer has been under scrutiny this year is that $20 million to $25 million Comcast's (CMCSA) NBC is paying him this year to co-host "Today" isn't translating into ratings. That said, Lauer's paycheck still puts him in some rare company. Only Jay Leno's "Tonight Show" deal with NBC and David Letterman's "Late Show" contract with CBS (CBS) generate come anywhere near what Lauer, Stewart and Sheindlin earn. Those five are the only people in TV making $20 million a year or more.

Not that the networks aren't shelling out for other talent. CBS is giving Ashton Kutcher $750,000 an episode -- or more than $19 million per season -- to keep "Two and a Half Men" on life support.

Meanwhile, "Big Bang Theory" stars Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons and Kaley Cuoco are expected to get $1 million an episode when their contracts are renewed after the upcoming season. That makes their current $325,000-an-episode haul seem like a bargain by comparison.

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Aug 26, 2013 10:11AM
Real judge makes upward of $100k or more a year.  Fake judge on TV?  $20 million/yr.  Ridiculous.  #prioritiespeople
Aug 26, 2013 1:48PM
This is proof that something is really wrong in our society.
Seriously though, who cares about this garbage.
Shame on me for reading it .

Aug 26, 2013 9:17AM
Not a one of them is worth the bucks,,,  the judge, a yeller, a ridiculer, and as the article says, people would do better if going to a regular judge, not one intent on making money off their problems,  the rest of those mentions,,, the same,,,
Aug 26, 2013 9:23AM
Seriously,  who watches this crap?  Obviously somebody is...
Aug 26, 2013 4:22PM

Oprah's going to be pisssed off now!  Just goes to show you that it takes no talent to succeed in Hollywood (see Oprah for another example.....)

Aug 26, 2013 2:55PM
How much Bert get paid?  If she gets all the money,  how about him?   The Enquirer wants to know. Just saying.
Aug 26, 2013 1:32PM
my wife is going threw p.m.s why should I watch her
Aug 26, 2013 3:14PM
How does CBS justify her salary?What does she do that 47 million sounds fair?same thing goes for radio personalities making hundreds of millions of dollars for a 3-4 hour radio program is crazy.
Aug 26, 2013 3:27PM
She's tough, educated, and tells it like it is... or, at least how it should be.

Aug 26, 2013 10:43AM
get over it li love watching judge judy
Aug 26, 2013 11:20AM
she is a dumb bitch no one is worth so much and does so little
Aug 26, 2013 3:00PM
Aug 26, 2013 5:01PM

So who is going to complain about CEO salaries now???

47 million dollars a year?

I bet she is just squeaking by on that.

I do not know that I have ever watched a whole episode.  She is very annoying and holier than though..

Of course if I was making 47 million a year I would be holier than though too...



Aug 26, 2013 6:33PM

47 million dollars a year? Evil 1%er!


Judge Judy is a farce.. obnoxious and mean.. has to be acting as it's one of the most ridiculous shows on TV.. Nobody needs to get that amount of money, least of all her... If anyone deserves to be in the high rankings in pay, it should be people from 60 minutes that cover real news not "glitz and glamour" of night tv..  I thought Mark Harmon would be up there but evidently not.. Ashton Kuchar is okay I guess.. good actor and crew from Big Bang do very well, but all are getting too much, period!!!


Aug 26, 2013 5:19PM
And she can still barely afford a cheap crappy manhattan apt, but more importantly, who's the lowest paid fastfood worker? And how's their life going?
Aug 26, 2013 6:51PM
Talk to your doctor about next to him or something like that. I am so tired of hearing this junk but I have to endure it to listen to the national news!!!!!!! I hope the power grid does crash!!!!!!!!!    The "ask your doctor, tell your doctor" ads are working!  Saw a report of 11 health industries that are hiring!  Nobody else is.  Now thermer cares one ad after anohter and I missed a couple of them typing this.  Now a lawyer ad.....OMG!!! When will this crap end?  I think I'm gonna shut off the "ask your doctor" box and go to bed.  What is worse is that I'm paying for this crap!!!
Aug 26, 2013 6:47PM
Who is the highest paid "ask your doctor, tell your doctor " star?
Aug 26, 2013 3:54PM
Judge Judy makes a good case for wife-beating! Just sayin...Lmao. 
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