Can ‘Judge Judy’ ever win an Emmy?

When the Legal/Courtroom show category was created three years ago it was widely believed to be part of an industry push to get “Judge Judy” that Emmy win which had eluded the program since its ratings grabbing debut in 1996. Despite being the top-rated legal show on daytime television for most of its lengthy run and racking up a mighty impressive 13 nominations the series has yet to win an Emmy.

It lost all 10 of its bids in the “Special Class Series” category where it competed against more serious programming like “CNN Newsroom” and lighter fare like TLC’s “A Baby Story” or the always popular “Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade”.

The creation of the Legal/Courtroom show category was seen by Emmy watchers as a step towards crowning daytime’s top rated judge a winner. However, a far-less popular series — “Cristina’s Court” starring Latino-American judge Cristina Perez — pulled off a shocking victory in 2008, continued its winning streak in 2009, and even prevailed in 2010 despite being cancelled.

Both the charm and the curse of “Judge Judy” is the abrasive and divisive personality of its star Judge Judith Sheindlin.  Many regard her to be overly harsh with the litigants appearing on her program. And “Judge Judy” could be submitting the wrong episodes for consideration. Selecting an episode for Emmy consideration is a daunting task: one must find an example that non-regular viewers of the series can follow which also explains the format of the show and showcases its star. Winning submissions often include likeable participants to whom voters can relate.

Other nominees in this category, such as “Cristina’s Court” and the popular “Judge Hatchett” starring Glenda Hatchett, have mastered the art of submitting episodes featuring just one sensational case with a compelling story arc. “Judge Judy” typically features far less theatrical cases.

And the structure of “Judge Judy” allows for two or more cases to be shown which gives little screen time to the litigants. The judge almost always overshadows the ordinary folk on her show with her biting personality and razor sharp wit. Till the tenor of the show and the tone of the jurist change, “Judge Judy” is unlikely to win over the Emmy jury.

Photo: Cristina Perez at the 2008 Emmy Awards (ABC)

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