On the television show Judge Judy, there are two primary personalities that you’ll see on every episode: Judith Sheindlin and Petri Hawkins-Byrd.
Judith Sheindlin is one of the highest paid television personalities in the United States today, earning nearly $50 million per year for her court show that has been airing, in syndication, for over 20 years.
Bailiff Byrd is paid quite well also for his duties. Although there are no formal reports regarding how much he earns, it has been reported that his salary is more than $1 million.
To earn his salary, Bailiff Byrd is present for filming over the course of 52 days each year. This level of filming is able to produce about 260 episodes each season, which air on over 200 stations in the United States.
Although the salary numbers seem high, Bailiff Byrd earns about $4,000 per episode. In comparison, Judith Sheindlin earns about $180,000 per episode.
How Much Money Does Judge Judy Earn?
Judge Judy averages about 10 million viewers every week. This makes it the top-ranked program during daytime television. Because of this consistently high viewership, the show is estimated to bring about $170 million in revenues each year. Because production costs are kept very low with its basic format, that allows Sheindlin and Bailiff Byrd to earn salaries that are quite high when compared to other daytime TV personalities.
The show has had an incredible level of staying power over the decades. Many credit the high ratings and high salaries to the authenticity of the show itself.
Byrd was born in Brooklyn, went to Eastern District High School, and went to a community college in the Bronx. By 1986, he had transferred to the family court division in Manhattan with his work as a court officer. He met Judge Judy while she served as a judge in the same division.
In 1996, when Sheindlin was offered the TV show, Byrd wrote her a note of congratulations and an offer. She offered him the bailiff role immediately and he resigned his position in the U.S. Marshals Service.
Petri Hawkins-Byrd has served as the bailiff on Judge Judy since episode #1. That makes him the longest-serving courtroom TV bailiff in history.
Natalie Regoli, Esq. is the author of this post and the editor-in-chief of our blog. She received her B.A. in Economics from the University of Washington and her Masters in Law from The University of Texas School of Law. In addition to being a seasoned writer, Natalie has almost two decades of experience as a lawyer. If you have any questions about the content of this blog post, then please send Natalie a message here.