American’s weren’t expecting this new courtroom drama from Judge Judy Sheindlin.
When one of the highest paid television star, who is reportedly earning $47 million every year for “Judge Judy”, decided to go solo by stepping down the throne which was held for 25 seasons by her, that too for starting with a new streaming series, “Judy Justice.”
Petri Hawkins-Byrd, who has been Sheindlin’s bailiff since the 1996 premiere of “Judge Judy,” has disclosed that he was “not asked” to be a part of the new show, which will premiere on Amazon and IMDb TV on Nov. 1.
“My assumption is if you were going on to do something else, that you were at least going to ask me if I wanted to have the opportunity to audition for the role,” Hawkins-Byrd, 63, told EW of allegedly getting “priced out” of his gig.
Sheindlin’s sidekick came to know about her new show just like the audience did, but at that time he was more focused on caring for his wife, longtime “Judge Judy” producer Makita Bond-Byrd, who has been recovering from malignant brain tumor surgery.
“I didn’t have time to think about or ask about ‘Judy Justice,’ ” said Hawkins-Byrd, adding that Makita just completed her third round of chemotherapy after doctors removed 95 percent of her tumor. “It wasn’t until July that I called the judge and asked, ‘Hey, should I look for something else or am I included in the “Judy Justice” project?’”
That is when he was informed by his longtime colleague that he was not invited to her streamer at that time. He didn’t inquire as to why, telling EW that it was her decision.
“But she did inform me that fundamentally, I was priced out as the new bailiff on her new show,” Hawkins-Byrd told the outlet. “My salary would have been too much. I was curious: How would she know? She didn’t ask me. She didn’t give me an opportunity to have accepted a lower salary.”
“Byrd is terrific, and we had a fantastic 25-year run,” a spokesperson for Sheindlin told Entertainment Weekly. This is a whole new program with a whole new cast and an exciting energy.”
Hawkins-representatives Byrd’s told The Washington Post that she had “nothing to add” after her comments were made public.
After more than two decades, Hawkins-Byrd said it’s a bittersweet pill to swallow.