Saturday, April 13, 2024

Justice Served: “People’s Court” and Judge Mathis Show Cancelled By Warner Bros. After Two Decades Plus


The jury has returned a verdict: Warner Discovery is cancelling its two syndicated court shows.

I’ve confirmed that “The People’s Court” with Judge Marilyn Milian, and “Judge Mathis” with Judge Greg Mathis, have been convicted of being on the air too long. They will wrap this spring after a respective 26 and 24 seasons.

“The People’s Court,” of course, had its first famous run in the 1980s with Judge Joseph Wapner presiding. The show gained infamy when it was included in the plot of Barry Levinson’s award winning movie, “Rain Man.”

This version began in 1997 as a reboot with former New York Mayor Ed Koch in the black robes. But in 2001, Milian came in and has been making rulings ever since. For all those years, dating back to Wapner, TMZ’s Harvey Levin has been lurking in the hallways and interviewing the litigants. Now he’ll be reduced to just stalking ambulances around Los Angeles.

The two shows average 800,000 and 600,000 viewers a day, which in the talk show world is acceptable. They can’t be too expensive to produce since the participants are real people. But the cost cutting throughout Warner Discovery just goes on and on. Warner’s was a powerhouse with “Ellen” for years until she left the game last year. Now they remain with Jennifer Hudson’s refreshing talk show, renewed for a second season.

Daytime syndication is changing fast. “Dr. Phil” is leaving the biz also this spring. “Live with Kelly and Ryan” is betting everything on replacing Ryan Seacrest with Mark Consuelos. Drew Barrymore teeters on the edge. And it’s not easy to find new shows that click. Is Warner’s getting out of court shows completely? We’ll see. Meanwhile, reruns of “Judge Judy” and new shows of Judy’s “Hot Bench” continue to bring in the big audiences.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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