Long Time ‘Judge Judy’ Bailiff Not Asked to Join New Show

In Summary

Judge Judy’ bailiff Petri Hawkins-Byrd said he didn’t learn about the new show until after her announcement and was confused by the reasoning of why their 25 year partnership was coming to an end.  

For 25 seasons on air, Petri Hawkins-Byrd stood beside Judith Sheindlin as her bailiff on her show Judge Judy.  

Now, the judge has ruled to cancel the continuation of the partnership between herself and Hawkins-Byrd, who said Sheindlin told him he will not join her new show Judy Justice.  

Hawkins-Byrd, who has been with Sheindlin since Judge Judy first aired in 1996, said he only learned about the new show because of Sheindlin’s announcement in March of 2020.  

“My assumption is if you were going on to do something else, that you were at least going to ask me if I wanted to have the opportunity to audition for the role,” Hawkins-Byrd said.  

According to Nielsen, the final season of Judge Judy concluded in April and was still atop daytime court shows for the 1,290th consecutive week, with a 6% spike to a 5.2 live plus same day national rating in June.  

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However, during the exit show, Hawkins-Byrd said his main concerning was caring for his wife Makita Bond-Byrd, who was undergoing brain surgery during that time. Byrd’s wife is a longtime producer of the show and has since completed her third round of chemotherapy. Doctors successfully removed 95 percent of her tumor.  

“I didn’t have time to think about or ask about Judy Justice,” Hawkins-Byrd said. “It wasn’t until July that I called the judge and asked, ‘Hey, should I look for something else or am I included in the Judy Justice project?’”  

When Hawkins-Byrd asked Sheindlin about the end of his role as bailiff, he said he was baffled by the response because he initially wasn’t given an option or spoken to directly.  

“She informed me I was not being asked to come along on the project,” he said. “I didn’t inquire as to why, that’s her choice. But she did inform me that, fundamentally, I was priced out as the new bailiff on her new show. My salary would have been too much. I was curious: How would she know? She didn’t ask me. She didn’t give me an opportunity to have accepted a lower salary.”  

Hawkins-Byrd said the call ended amicably, but he still wanted answers.   

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“I don’t think she understood how confused and dismayed I was after being there for 25 years, from the beginning of her career, and not being at least given the opportunity to say whether or not I wanted to continue that relationship,” Hawkins-Byrd explained.  

Sheindlin released a statement to Entertainment Weekly about the departure of Hawkins-Byrd.  

“Byrd is terrific and we had a great 25-year run,” she said. “This is a whole new program with a whole new cast and an exciting energy.”  

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