The dogfight between Judith Sheindlin and CBS with Rebel Entertainment Partners over the $95 million sale of the Judy Judy library is over, but not finished.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Kristin S. Escalante has granted a motion by Sheindlin, Big Ticket Pictures and the Paramount Global-owned company to dismiss the two-year old suit from self-described “successor in interest” Rebel over the more than $5 million the latter claim they are owed for the admittedly convoluted 2017 sale. “Defendants Big Ticket Pictures, Inc.; CBS Studios, Inc.; CBS Corporation; Judith Sheindlin; and Her Honor, Inc. are entitled to judgment in their favor on all causes of action as fully reflected in the Order, which is signed and filed on this date and incorporated herein by reference to the Court file,” declares a mid-day September 28 order from the LASC judge (read it here).
However, before the victory dances commence, the Freedman + Taitelman represented Rebel have a tune of their own to play.
“The judge found that despite CBS’s consistent denial that a sale of the Judge Judy library had never occurred, CBS’s own financial records showed that not to be the case,” Hollywood heavyweight attorney Bryan Freedman told Deadline today. “Given that fact this matter will be decided in the court of appeal. We are confident that the court of appeal will rule in our clients favor.”
Contacted by Deadline, reps for the now Judy Justice host had no comment on the ruling in the often acidic suit. CBS media Ventures also had no comment Thursday.
Amidst a series of lawsuits over the 25 seasons of the highly profitable and very well watched courtroom series, including one other by Rebel themselves, this jury seeking matter was first filed in the heart of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in August 2020. Smitting ex-CBS overlord Les Moonves, former CBS programming chief Armando Nuñez, Sheindlin and others over the seemingly low-balled sale of the now defunct series five years ago, Rebel alleged they were not only owed 5% of any profits from Judge Judy the show, but a piece of corresponding enrichments, like the on-again, off-again and on-again 2017 library sale.
Needless to say, Sheindlin and CBS made it very clear they thought Judge Judy original packager talent agent Richard Lawrence and his Abrams, Rubaloff & Lawrence firm had gotten way over their skis on this one. “If Mr. Lawrence can produce a contract, signed by me and Mr. Lawrence on the same page, at any time in history from the beginning of time, I will toast that contract, smear it with cream cheese and eat it on national television,” said Sheindlin in a statement to Deadline at the time. No contract and no such feasting has occurred, it should be noted.
Now, in the irony that lies at the heart of the business of Hollywood, this will have another half-life in appeals, even as all the parties involved have literally moved on to other things.
Once efforts to reach an agreement with CBS TV Distribution for more seasons of the Emmy-winning daytimer, which paid her $47 million a year, fell flat, Sheindlin announced the end of Judge Judy in 2020. Linking up with former CBS executive Scott Koondel’s Sox Entertainment, the former Manhattan family court judge soon was out there pitching a new series. A show that found a lucrative home on streaming with the November 2021 debut of Judy Justice on the Amazon-owned IMDb TV, which is now called Freevee.
Judy Justice was renewed for a second season back in March, with new episodes expected soon.
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