Judge Judy Crowned as World's Highest Paid TV Host

The verdict is in, and Judge Judy is swapping out ruling over her courtroom to rule over the list of highest-paid TV hosts.

According to a new Forbes ranking, Judy Sheindlin, better known to audiences as Judge Judy, sits at the No. 1 spot on the list of highest-paid talk show hosts thanks to her $147 million pretax income last year.

Sheindlin, who holds the Guinness World Record for the longest career as a TV judge, was able to reach the milestone in part thanks to her 2017 deal with CBS, in which she sold Judge Judy's 5,200-episode library, along with rights to future episodes, for an estimated $100 million.

For hosting Judge Judy, the syndicated program that is now in its 23rd season and garners more than 10 million viewers daily, and producing Hot Bench, which debuted in 2014, the 76-year-old makes $47 million.

In total, Judge Judy boasts a $400 million net worth, making her the 48th richest self-made woman in America. While she boasts a nine-figure paycheck and net worth, Sheindlin previously stated that she doesn't do what she does for the paycheck, but rather because it's what she loves.

"Many people, as I did in the beginning, get stuck with a job they don't really like. … If you're not doing something that you love to do, find something that you love to do, because it will make your whole life different," Sheindlin said at 2017's Forbes Women's Summit.

Just a year before that, she had spoken about her hefty paycheck in a court transcript obtained by The Hollywood Reporter during her salary talks with CBS.


"They pay me the money that they do because they have no choice," she said. "They can't find another one. They've tried to find another Judy. If they find another Judy, good for them. So far they haven't...The 'Judy' program is all over the world, and even though they had to take a deep breath, they paid the money because they know otherwise. I'd take the same people with me that are producing the show now and I'd go and do it myself."

Sheindlin reportedly renegotiates her salary with CBS every three years, leaving room for one of her fellow highest-paid talk show hosts to take her place. Forbes' list was rounded out with Ellen DeGeneres ($87.5 million) in the No. 2 spot, Dr. Phil McGraw ($77.5 million) taking third place, Ryan Seacrest ($74 million) in fourth, and Steve Harvey ($44 million) in fifth.