'Hot Bench' Gets a Second-Season Renewal

Hot Bench Cast Art - H 2014
Courtesy of CBS

Hot Bench Cast Art - H 2014

The show created by Judge Judy has gotten off to a hot start and is the highest-rated of the new first-run syndicated shows this season

Hot Bench, the freshman syndicated court show created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, has been renewed for a second season by CBS Television Distribution.

CTD and Sheindin's Queen Bee Productions also announced on Thursday that Hot Bench is getting upgrades to better stations and time periods in five of the top 10 markets for the remainder of this season.

The show featuring a three-judge panel is the highest-rated of the programs that premiered in September 2014. In the November sweeps, Hot Bench averaged a 1.7 household rating, which is about 2.3 million viewers a day.

In the key demo of women 25 to 54, Hot Bench is also the highest-rated new first-run syndicated show with a 0.8 rating for the season to date, and for the November sweeps. That puts it equal to the long-running show Divorce Court.

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The judges are Patricia DiMango, Tanya Acker and Larry Bakman.

"I'm gratified that viewers have embraced Hot Bench," Sheindlin said. "I came up with the idea on a trip to Ireland last year with my husband. We observed a three-judge bench and found the process fascinating. I'm glad the viewers agree!"

The show is executive produced by Randy Douthit, who also directs, and Maureen Fitzpatrick.

"Hot Bench has improved stations' time periods across the country and in many cases has become a standout in a station's court block," said Joe DiSalvo, president of sales at CTD. "We're excited to bring the show back next year."

"Hot Bench came out of the gate strong and kept growing," said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, CTD's president of creative affairs. "Viewers really responded to this new twist on the court genre with multiple judges and a behind-the-scenes look at deliberations."