Lots Of People Are Watching ‘Judge Judy’ Each Day. Who The Hell Are These People?

Last week, we ran a post about television’s highest earning performers, and we found out that Jon Stewart is earning more than Letterman and Leno (deservedly), that Ashton Kutcher makes way too much goddamn money ($750,000) for Two and a Half Men, and that RuPaul makes the same per episode as Tatiana Maslany ($50,000). What I found most surprising, however, was the fact that the highest earning person on television, BY FAR, is Judy Sheindlin. Judge Judy makes an astronomical $47 million a year.


So, I looked it up, to see what her ratings were because I was curious about why this woman who is ripping off The People’s Court (WAPNER 4 EVA) is making so much money.

Turns out, it’s because she deserves it. Why? Because on average, she gets nearly 9 million viewers A DAY. Five days a week. To put that into perspective, each daily episode draws more viewers than all but four of last week’s primetime shows (Under the Dome, Duck Dynasty, the Video Music Awards, and America’s Got Talent). Judge Judy attracts about four times the audience of The Tonight Show, the highest rated late-night talk show.


Well, turns out, there are statistics on daytime television viewing. It’s not entirely who it once was: Stay-at home Moms. In fact, stay-at home dads have begun to grab an increasingly large share of the daytime television audience. However, it is still a disproportionately large female viewership: 73 percent of daytime television viewers are women.

Of course, it’s mostly older women: The median age of a daytime television viewer is 60 (which is not that much older, honestly, than the median age of a CBS primetime viewer). They are also disproportionately poor and less educated. Twenty percent of daytime television viewers make less than $20,000 a year, and 85 percent don’t have college degrees. Advertisers understand this, too, since most of the commercials on Judge Judy are for car insurance, personal injury attorneys, title loan companies, or cable TV providers, which is a kind of depressing statement. Advertisers are basically encouraging poor, older, less educated women to take out loans and sue people. And get a better cable provider. Nice.

So, what do these less educated, poor, women watch besides Judge Judy? Here’s a list of the 25 most popular syndicated shows last week (many of which are daytime shows, though some are in the early evening or post-primetime hours). For the record, the top 15 have more viewers than Community and Parks and Recreation.

1. Judge Judy
2. Big Bang Theory Reruns
3. Wheel of Fortune
4. Jeopardy
5. Big Bang Theory (Weekend)
6. Family Feud
7. Weekend Adventure
8. Two and a Half Men Reruns
9. Law and Order SVI
10. Big Bang Theory (Weekend II)
11. Entertainment Tonight
12. Family Guy Reruns (Weekend)
13. Family Guy Reruns (Weekday)
14. Law & Order
15. Wheel of Fortune (Weekend)
16. Inside Edition
17. Live with Kelly and Michael
18. The Dr. Phil Show
19. How I Met Your Mother Reruns
20. Law & Order: Criminal Intent
21. ESPN NFL Preseason
22. How I Met Your Mother (Weekend)
23. King of the Hill Reruns
24. Who Wants to Be a Millionaire
25. Castle Reruns

(Source: Popmatters and TVByTheNumbers)