Judge Judy Sheindlin has spent the past couple of decades settling and ironing out deals between feuding parties, and her fan-fueled TV success (along with some wise negotiating tactics) has again found her on top of the television earnings list. Judge Judy is once more the highest paid TV host in 2018, and she managed to achieve that by a wide margin. The judge had a rather huge year, earning roughly $147 million in total.
It’s a number that’s created a considerable gap between the Judge Judy icon and other top earners in 2018, mostly thanks to a mega-deal she negotiated with CBS during the year. Judy Sheindlin sold the network the rights to reruns and future airings of her show Judge Judy, in a deal worth $100 million. In total, CBS got access to 5,200 episodes, as well as any future episodes the good judge will film in her courtroom.
As confirmed by Forbes, that payday went on top of the annual $47 million salary Judy Sheindlin gets for hosting her program, which had already solidified her spot as television’s highest-paid television personality. Though Judge Judy has been on television since the 90s, she still pulls in one of daytime television’s largest audiences. That’s the kind of show that networks live for, and this one was lucrative enough for CBS to shell out such a massive sum in exchange for the rights to her brand.
For the record, the $147 million that Judge Judy made in 2018 was a gross sum calculated pre-tax, and without fees for agents, lawyers, and managers included. Basically, Judge Judy’s bank account probably didn’t see that entire amount get deposited at once, but even then, she’s still far ahead of 2018’s other four top earners, whose numbers were calculated using the same method.
1. Judge Judy Sheindlin- $148,000,000
2. Ellen Degeneres- $87,500,000
3. Dr. Phil McGraw- $77,500,000
4. Ryan Seacrest- $74,000,000
5. Steve Harvey- $44,000,000
All 5 personalities at the top of the list have shows that run during daytime hours, but most of the others supplemented their income in 2018 with deals from supplemental primetime projects. As an example, Ellen Degeneres’ $87,500,000 is a combination of earnings from her daytime show, her upcoming Netflix stand-up special, and her producer duties on shows like Little Big Shots and Splitting Up Together.
Had Judge Judy not brokered that massive agreement with CBS, she would’ve found herself in 5th place this year. Instead, she’s back on top as the highest paid television personality with an amount that far exceeds past years when she’s achieved that honor. With Jerry Springer apparently looking to get into the courtroom show game in 2019, it will be interesting to see if Judge Judy will be able to top the list again.