Jon Stewart, Money, Rankings, Reality TV, Television

The $47 Million Dollar Law Degree: Judge Judy Is America’s Highest-Paid TV Star

TV Guide released its annual list of television salaries and, once again, the top spot belongs to Judge Judy.

Someone needs to resolve the nation’s disputes over dogs taking dumps in the neighbor’s lawn. We need her on that wall.

America’s most trusted jurist has the highest-rated show in syndication, so a hefty salary isn’t really surprising.

What is surprising is just how much Judge Judy blows away the competition in the salary market. A-List TV personalities on flagship network programs are begging for table scraps compared to her haul.

Meanwhile, another TV jurist has slipped off the highest paid list…

According to TV Guide, Judge Judy is pulling down a whopping $47 million for her services, up from $45 million last year. Speaking of “whopping,” these figures are probably giving Judge Joseph Wapner, who minces no words in explaining how much damage Judge Judy does to the judicial system, conniptions. Also, Judge Wapner is still alive? Really?

In any event, $47 million can buy a new lawyerly lair to replace the one she just sold. Meanwhile, the million-dollar law degree folks are preparing to send around a press release explaining how Judge Judy proves everyone should go to law school immediately.

Just how much more is Judge Judy making than her fellow TV stars? Jon Stewart comes in second on the list, earning an estimated $25 to $30 million as the host who consistently seizes the 18-49 demographic. America’s most hated TV host, Matt Lauer, is making $22 to $25 million after throwing Ann Curry under a moving train to take over NBC’s flagship news program.

Sadly, it’s not all happy news for courtroom TV. Last year, Judge Joe Brown ranked fifth on the list, with an estimated $20 million a year (though he publicly disputes this, claiming he made a mere $5 million). But he got canceled, so Judge Judy is now the only court on the list.

The Judge Judy show is certainly worth the investment in its star. CNN Money reports:

Stephen Battaglio, TV Guide’s business editor and author of the list, said Judge Judy generates about $200 million in ad revenue for CBS, but costs just $10 million per year to produce, before factoring in Sheindlin’s salary. The show is aired internationally, and some stations air it several times a day.

That’s a terrific profit margin. Given Judge Joe Brown’s departure, there’s an opening for a new courtroom program for a bombastic lawyer to berate the denizens of America’s trailer parks.

Why hasn’t someone approached us about Judge Elie yet?

TV’s Highest Paid Stars: What They Earn [TV Guide]
Judge Judy rules! TV court jurist is the highest paid television star [New York Daily News]
Judge Judy is highest-paid TV star [CNN Money]

Earlier: Is Anybody Shocked That Americans Trust TV Judges More Than Supreme Court Justices?
Lawyerly Lairs: Judge Judy Parts With Pricey Pied-à-Terre

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