“All rise, honourable judge X presiding,” have become popular words for fans of daytime TV court shows which have gained popularity in the US and around the world since the early 90s. Most of the cases that are brought before celebrity judges are actually real small claims cases that are picked up from courts. Most of the celebrity judges are also former judges from the US judicial system, which is why these shows look and feel so real and something interesting always happens during the proceedings. Now, it takes a very brilliant and entertaining judge to turn a court case into entertainment and these 10 are the most entertaining ones that are currently or recently airing.
Judy Sheindlin had a reputation as the toughest family court judge in Manhattan before she convinced CBS to set her a courtroom. She had actually called Warner Bros in 1993 asking to take the place of Joseph Wapner for The People’s court but the receptionist hung up on her and that was the end of that one. Since 1996. Judy Sheidlin has become the most popular TV court judge in the world with more episodes than any other reality court show. Her show was finally cancelled by CBS after 25 years only to be picked up by Amazon as Judy Justice because Judge Judy always delivers justice with mercy and humour.
The People’s Court is the longest surviving Judicial reality show in the US and was started in the 1980s. It won its 4th Daytime Emmy Award for the best show of its category in June 2021 making it the biggest competitor to Judge Judy. Judy’s husband Jerry Sheindlin presided over the show between 2000 and 001 before its longest arbiter Marilyn Milian took over. Milian was the first Hispanic arbitrator to preside over the show and her sense of humour and compassion are just amazing. She is a former Florida Circuit Court judge and she brings life to her courtroom more than any of the previous judges in the show.
Before coming to the bench in the reality show, Lauren Lake was a family lawyer and a legal analyst. She made such a great TV judge that her name was added to the Paternity Court show to be called Lauren Lake’s Paternity Show. The covid pandemic forced MGM to shut down the program which had just hit its peak winning the Emmy in 2019. Lauren Lake remains one of the toughest faces seen in reality courtroom shows with her paternity show being rated in the top 5 of all judicial reality shows since its inception in 2013.
When she started her show, Judy Sheindlin wanted it to be called Hot Bench which is why she started this one in 2014 and it has been awesome since it was launched. The Hot Bench actually has only one former judge in Patricia DiMango who is a former New York Supreme court judge. The other two judges are also great though and they help merge law and reality when discussing in the chamber. The idea of a panel of judges discussing a case before giving a verdict has made Hot Bench one of the most exciting Judiciary shows in the world.
Judge Penny Reynolds
No one could forget the earthquake that occurred on live TV in 2008 while Judge Penny Reynolds was presiding over family court. Her looks were the main attraction to her show in the begging but then he witty and fair judgements changed minds making her one of the most viewed daytime Courtroom shows in the US. Unfortunately, production stopped in 2009 just after the show won a nomination for the Emmys. Judge Penny’s personality, humour and fairness remain some of the best arbitrations ever seen though.
Judge Faith Jenkins
Known to many as the beauty on the bench, Faith Jenkins is definitely the most beautiful lady justice in any TV court show. She was a model and almost won the beauty parget before she changed careers and studied law. She became a prosecutor in New York before picking up on MSNBC TV courtroom in 2014 a show that has made her very popular. She handles real small claims cases and always manages to bring humour to her courtroom. She is currently killing it on Divorce Court after her show ended in 2018.
Judge Lynn Toler
If it wasn’t for the cancellations and frequent replacement of judges, Divorce Court would have been the longest Judicial TV show running because it started two years before people’s court. While Judge Faith has brought a new face and life to the show, it is impossible to forget Judge Lynn Toler who remains the show’s longest presiding judge. Lyn Toler doesn’t just deliver judgment. Lyn engages the litigants, argues with them and shows remorse where it is due. Her strong voice is also interesting since the line between firmness and humour is so thin.
Judge Greg Mathis is only rivalled by Judge Judy in terms of Consistency and popularity. Mathis has been airing continuously since 1999 and hasn’t seen any cancellations. Judge Greg Mathis isn’t loud but he is very wise. He listens and advises appropriately before delivering judgement. His show also accepts cases from different US states but his judgements always narrow down to the state and the specific case and it is just amazing to watch him deliver the judgement.
Judge Frank Caprio (Caught In Providence)
If compassion and humour before justice were a person, they would be called Frank Caprio. He is the first judge that gets so affectionate with his litigants that he invites them to the bench for a hug. His fatherly and grandfatherly advice often evoke tears in the court despite the fact that he doesn’t deal with overly emotional cases like divorce court and other TV courtrooms.
Judge Karen Mills
Judge Karen came to the scene of reality courtrooms as the fair mother and judge who listened more than she spoke. When she finally delivers her judgment, it is based on listening to both sides of the story and allowing the litigants to cross-examine witnesses. The current show has aired since 2013, but she no longer wears her burgundy robe. She always brings an interesting level of firmness and humour in all her judgements.
Do you watch any of the TV judges on our list? Do you watch someone else? Do tell us in the comments below.