Petri Hawkins Byrd, who served as Judge Judy Sheindlin's bailiff for the entire run of Judge Judy, is not angry or bitter about not being invited to join Sheindlin's new show, Judy Justice. Amazon's IMDb TV released the first trailer for the new show earlier this month, introducing Kevin Rasco as a new bailiff. In a new interview with the Associated Press, Byrd said he was disappointed, but he's focusing on acting, including his recent guest role in The Bold and the Beautiful.
In their 25 years working together, Byrd said he never became too close to Sheindlin. They were friendly, but she never invited him to her yachts. "All I've done is explained to my fan base what happened, Byrd told the AP. "I'm not angry. I'm not bitter. I wish Judge Judy the best and you know, I hope things work out for her." He noted that if Sheindlin had any issue with his recent comments, she could always call him up.
Byrd recently appeared on The Bold and the Beautiful as a minister in August. He said the offer for that part came as a total surprise to him. Acting is now Byrd's focus, he told the AP. He is even doing voice acting work, confirming he has a role in the upcoming Disney+ revival of The Proud Family. "I was asked to play a role on there and I thoroughly enjoyed myself, so I'm looking forward to more voiceover work," he said. Byrd also hosts a podcast on YouTube with his wife called Bonding with Byrd.
After the Judy Justice trailer was released, there was an outcry on social media from many wondering where Byrd was. He told Entertainment Weekly he was never even approached to join the new show. In July, he called her up and asked if he was going to be on the new show, but she said no and blamed the budget. "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," he recalled. Byrd said his wife, longtime Judge Judy producer Makita Bond-Byrd, was asked to join Judy Justice, but she declined due to health reasons.
In response, Sheindlin praised Byrd through her spokesperson, adding that Judy Justice is intended to have a different feeling from her previous show. "Byrd is terrific and we had a great 25-year run. This is a whole new program with a whole new cast and an exciting energy," her spokesperson said. Judy Justice will premiere on Nov. 1.
Meanwhile, Byrd's representative told TMZ he is "not actively pursuing" a role on a new courtroom show, but he will consider offers. His manager is reportedly talking with TV producers about creating a new court show and talking with another "big-name" producer about another project. Byrd's rep said the actor is "confident God has a plan for him and something new is coming his way."