'Judge Karen' to hold court


Sony Pictures Television said Thursday that it has cleared its court show "Judge Karen" in 45% of the U.S. for a fall 2008 launch in syndication.

The distributor has cleared the half-hour strip on stations including Tribune's WPIX New York and WPHL Philadelphia, Weigel's WCIU Chicago as well as CBS' KTVT/KTXA Dallas, KPIX/KBCW San Francisco and WBZ/WSBK Boston. The show is being offered for cash plus barter.

"Our goal is to help our clients expand their audience by delivering hit television shows that are compatible with their lineups," SPT president of distribution John Weiser said. "Court shows prevail as one of the most advertiser-friendly genres with a high success rate."

The strip will feature Judge Karen Mills-Francis, a Miami native who earned her law degree from the University of Florida Law School. After working as a public defender and trying more than 100 cases as an attorney in private practice, Mills-Francis in 2000 became the second black woman in Miami-Dade County to run for judge and beat the incumbent administrative judge. She retained her seat against opposition in the 2006 elections and still holds the position.

Mills-Francis has tried cases spanning a range of crimes from battery to murder and regularly hears cases involving juvenile defendants in criminal court as well as juveniles involved in domestic violence cases.

"We immediately recognized upon meeting Judge Karen that she has all the qualities needed to be a successful TV courtroom judge," Weiser said.