Judge Judy Makes $47 Million, But Is a Better Bargain Than Matt Lauer

Judge Judy - H - 2016

Judith Sheindlin boasts a staggering salary, but she actually delivers a better cost-per-viewer than Lauer.

Judith Sheindlin’s staggering $47 million-plus salary from CBS dwarfs that of popular male TV hosts, but her eight-figure viewership numbers actually make her rate seem like a steal. Sheidlin’s Judge Judy paycheck became public earlier this summer when an agent sued to collect a packaging fee he says he’s owed. Richard Lawrence of Rebel Entertainment Partners claims the network is using creative accounting to avoid paying backend compensation.

In the suit, he points out that the TV judge is making nearly double the salary of several famous hosts. Sheindlin called the suit “hilarious.” She says she hasn’t spoken to Lawrence in decades and his earning $17 million from the show for a two-hour meeting with her 21 years ago is “not a bad payday.” CBS responded by accusing Lawrence of fraud, claiming he hid the fact that he didn’t actually represent Sheindlin to land the packaging deal for the show. The lawsuit is currently set to go to trial next fall.

A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 14 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.