Will stations keep airing ‘Judge Judy’ after it stops production?

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With “Judge Judyset to end original episodes starting in 2021, what will the many local stations that air the court show do?

In many markets, stations air back to back episodes of “Judge Judy” right before their evening newscasts.

This includes many CBS owned stations in major markets. “Judge Judy” is syndicated by CBS Television Distribution.

While CBS has indicated it intends to offer stations reruns from the 25 seasons of the show for “several years” following the end of original episodes, it’s not immediately clear if all stations will keep airing the show. Some might also opt to move the show to another time.

Contractually, some stations may be locked in to airing the show, even if new episodes aren’t offered.

“Judge Judy” has proven a relatively strong lead in for many stations’ block of evening news — and repeat episodes regularly air throughout the year to fill space between new ones.

However, while syndication fees may be less given that the shows won’t be new, some stations may ultimately decide to drop the show and run local news instead, assuming they can based on their contract with CBS.

There has been a growing trend in the TV industry of stations dropping often pricey syndicated programming in exchange for airing locally produced news and lifestyle shows.

While these shows don’t always garner the same ratings as more popular syndicated shows, they can be more profitable in the long run since the cost to produce can be significantly less than the syndication fees.

That said, stations carrying “Judge Judy” may opt to stick with a proven name — even if it’s reruns — rather than risk launching new programming in the timeslot.

“Judge Judy” currently has over 5,200 hours of a past programming that CBS owns the rights to, so it’s entirely possible to re-air episodes as is with only the most loyal viewers noticing.

Another option would be to re-edit cases to create new combinations of episodes (in some cases, this might be necessary to get run of outdated references in cases).

Other stations may decide to move “Judy” to another timeslot — including a less desirable one such as the early morning hours or into a subchannel or sister station.