THR's Women in Entertainment 2011: Power 100
Sheindlin's syndicated show, Judge Judy, set in often contentious small-claims court, has notched its second consecutive season as the leading show in daytime, beating even the mighty Oprah during its final reign. (Most weeks, hers also is the leading program in syndication; on a good week, she gets close to 10 million viewers a day.) The New York Times recently dubbed her the real Queen of Daytime.
But to Her Honor, 2011 is a year with a slight disappointment: No new grandchildren arrived. "We have our fingers crossed for one of our children," she says, adding that her oldest grandchild is halfway through law school. "I think if you're really lucky, as a woman, you can have a terrific professional career and a satisfying family life. I can't imagine one side of my life without the other."
The tough-as-nails judge (her website calls her a "swift decision-maker with no tolerance for lame excuses") thinks the show's success comes not just from its messenger but its message, which she calls, "Do the right thing, take care of your responsibilities, stop making excuses, stop crying. It's not the bartender who put the drink in your hand -- it's you who got behind the wheel!"
And you've got to deliver that message the right way, she says: "With a sense of humor, and be able to laugh at yourself." Sheindlin, 69, a "physical fitness nut" who walks or works out several hours a day looks forward to many more days in court: Judge Judy will being shooting its 17th season in April. "When you get tired of something you do every day in the entertainment business, you should quit, because the audience can tell if you're calling it in," she says. "But each day is a fresh start for me. I'm still having a good time. I don't know what I would do if I didn't work."
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