The producers of the show “Judge Judy” pay guests that win a judgment award from a fund the producers reserve for this purpose. The award limit is $5,000. Both the defendant and plaintiff also receive an appearance fee that varies depending on the litigant and ranges from $100 to $500. Litigants also receive $35 pay for each day they appear on the show, with tapings lasting two to three days.
In addition to monetary compensation and any official award payments, guests on “Judge Judy” receive other types of compensation, including airfare and travel expenses related to their appearance on the show. Even guests that win their cases may not receive the entire requested dollar amount. When Judge Judy Sheindlin issues a verdict, she declares either a specific dollar amount to award or dismisses the lawsuit.
The “Judge Judy” court program is able to pay its guests thanks to its inexpensive budget, which allows the show to earn a considerable income. In 2010, litigants conspired to fabricate a lawsuit and left the show with an award for the plaintiff, appearance fees and an all-expense paid trip to Hollywood. In October 2013, Judge Judith Sheindlin was the highest paid television star with earnings of $47 million per year or $900,000 per work day.