Judge Judy sued over Les Moonves sale of her show’s ‘library rights’
Judge Judy Sheindlin is putting her money where her mouth is, literally.
Sheindlin — who makes $47 million a year, and is ending her blockbuster run on “Judge Judy” after 25 seasons this year — has been hit with a lawsuit by Rebel Entertainment Partners alleging that she stiffed the company out of profits when she bought and sold the show’s library rights in a deal with CBS in 2015.
But Sheindlin told us in response to the suit, referring to Rebel Entertainment president Richard Lawrence: “I have not seen the complaint and can therefore only comment on what I have read which suggests that I am being sued for ‘breach of contract.’ If that is the basis of Mr. Lawrence’s lawsuit, here is my challenge: 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.”
The suit against Sheindlin, CBS and its Big Ticket Entertainment division is just the latest in a long-simmering legal war involving Rebel and the show. Rebel has reportedly previously settled a suit with CBS alleging that it was shorted from profits stemming from Sheindlin’s salary that were improperly deducted as expenses. (Rebel is the company that succeeded the talent agency that originally packaged “Judge Judy.”)
Now Rebel says it’s owed money from the sale of the show’s library, and the new suit even alleges incompetency on the part of disgraced CBS mogul Les Moonves in the library sale.
“In 2015, Moonves and his loyal lieutenant [Armando] Nuñez seriously underestimated the value of the library and sold the rights to these episodes to series star Judith Sheindlin for a song,” the suit states. The suit alleges that Moonves then covered his tracks by buying the rights for between $95 million and $99 million to avoid scrutiny since only purchases over $100 million would need approval.
The suit adds, “Now that Viacom is in a position to oversee the behavior of CBS leadership, it is time for the new leadership it installed to make a sincere effort to right the wrongful conduct that has been a systemic problem at CBS.”
The library sale is also the subject of another ongoing suit brought by “Judge Judy” co-creators Kaye Switzer and the trust of the late Sandi Spreckman against CBS.
CBS did not comment. Rebel did not immediately get back to us.
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