LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Few daytime shows are as successful or long-running as the courtroom reality show, Judge Judy.
Stern, direct, animated and tough, Judge Judy Sheindlin has indeed entrenched herself as a daytime ratings steamroller since 1996.
CBS2/KCAL9's Paul Magers sat down with Judge Judy herself to discover more of the woman behind the gavel, and just what keeps the show's long-enduring appeal going.
Sheindlin, who earned a reputation as an authoritative judge in family court before establishing herself as a television personality, says her career's progression has been more enjoyable over the screen.
"This is a lot easier, because family court is the melting pot of sadness, in every city. But, if you understand people, and you're willing to work hard, sometimes you can make a difference in a few lives, so it makes it all worthwhile," Sheindlin said. "Here, this is fun."
The show, which has focused on small claims in an arbitration-based court for 18 years, may keep its strength up by entertaining viewers without the addition of fabrication, according to Sheindlin.
"I think people who watch are entertained," Sheindlin said. "(The show) is not scripted, we don't have a teleprompter, we don't have a team of joke-writers in the back, you know. I'm naturally who I am; sometimes I'm sweet, sometimes I'm nasty, sometimes I'm salty, sometimes I'm vindictive."
Using that natural character, Judge Judy has provided viewers with a plethora of courtroom confrontations to go with plenty attitudes with both defendants and plaintiffs.
Using a particular man — who was especially confrontational — as an example, Judge Judy showed that no one is above her authority in her courtroom.
"This guy was challenging me, because he thought he was going to come here and best me. So he was trying to make me look foolish, right" Sheindlin said, fighting back laughter. "Well it's my playpen."
Judge Judy has dealt with some colorful characters in her courtroom over the years, and her moral compass seems to know no bounds.
She even shared her opinion on the antics and recent legal troubles of disruptive pop-singer, Justin Bieber.
"Being a celebrity is a gift; you can either treat it reverently, or you can make a fool out of yourself, and he's doing a very good job of making a fool out of himself," Sheindlin said. "And I think it's sad. Nobody's going to remember that he was a marginal singer, but they're going to remember a young kid, who had a chance to have it all, and who is blowing it by acting like a fool."
On Tuesday at 5 p.m., only on CBS2, Judge Judy talks with Magers about how she acts around her kids and grandchildren at home, and how it may — or may not — contrast with the tough judge we see on television.
for more features.