Judge Judy Sheindlin Opens up About Potential Retirement

Judge Judy Sheindlin is about to say goodbye to Judge Judy, the show that made her a ubiquitous presence in American homes for a quarter-century, this year. Instead of retiring though, the 78-year-old star is set to start a new show, Judy Justice, for Amazon's ad-supported IMDb TV platform. In fact, she has no plans to retire because making television is what she loves to do.

"I'm not tired. I don't play golf or tennis. I have no desire to learn how to play mahjong, chess, or checkers. I know what I like to do," Sheindlin told The Hollywood Reporter in a wide-ranging interview published Thursday. "Why, at my stage in life, would I try to find something else when I already know what I like? And this isn't a 9-to-5 job. I've still got the time to see the children I love, the grandchildren who are growing up very fast, and the cute mate who I still get a kick out of."

Sheindlin announced plans to walk away from Judge Judy during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in March 2020. The show debuted in 1996 and will finish with 25 seasons and over 6,100 episodes produced. The show made Sheindlin a cultural icon and the highest-paid television host in Hollywood, reportedly earning $47 million a season. Sheindlin told DeGeneres she planned on starring in a new show, Judy Justice. In October 2020, Sheindlin announced she was bringing the new show to IMDb TV and it will be produced by Amazon Studios.

Sheindlin told THR the show will be similar to Judge Judy, but she did not know when Amazon plans to release the new episodes. They had to produce a "certain number" by December, and then Amazon will decide. "Give me a robe and a case, and I'll do my job," she said. "I had wonderful people producing and directing the Judge Judy program, and a couple of them will be following me to Amazon. That will keep my life on a steady keel."

When asked if she thought about her legacy when she jumped to another phase of her career, Sheindlin compared the big step to a risk a judge may have to take. "You take a risk when you return a baby to a mother who had been a crackhead," Sheindlin said. "She's been in a program and social services says she's OK and ready to have her child back. But you never want to see that baby on the front page of a newspaper having been abandoned, abused, or killed by that parent. You've dodged a bullet if you can end your career in the family court having dodged something like that."

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As for why she ended Judge Judy with 25 seasons, she said it was simply a good number. "Nobody says, 'Oh, they did that show 27 years,'" Scheindlin said. "That's not a number! Plus, it's always good to leave everybody wanting a little bit more."