The legendary Judge Judy Sheindlin has found herself embroiled in a nasty lawsuit over CBS’ $95 million purchase of her “Judge Judy” television show’s library rights.
Daily Mail reported that both Sheindlin and CBS are sued by Rebel Entertainment Partners, which is claiming that it was cheated out of profits when Sheindlin bought and eventually sold her show’s library rights. Rebel, a renowned talent agency, claims to be a profit participant of the show and is entitled to five percent of all profits.
Sheindlin reportedly bought the “Judge Judy” library back in 2015 and sold it back to CBS for a huge profit two years later in 2017.
When asked about the lawsuit, Sheindlin said of Rebel 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,” she added.
In the suit, Rebel alleges that CBS’ disgraced former boss Les Moonves “seriously underestimated” the value of the “Judge Judy” library when the network sold it to Sheindlin in 2015. In contrast, Sheindlin “understood she was now sitting on a gold mine” and enlisted the help of the Barron International Group to help her market the library to potential buyers for around $200 million.
The complaint states that Moonves finally realized in 2017 that he had “blundered” and needed to purchase back the library for CBS to “avoid embarrassment over his colossal mismanagement.”
“Moonves knew that he would look like an incompetent buffoon if he had to explain to the CBS Board of Directors that he had essentially sold the Judge Judy back catalog for a pittance less than two years prior, but was now proposing to buy it back for tens of millions of dollars,” the lawsuit alleged.
The suit goes on to accuse Moonves and then-CBS programming chief Armando Nunez of “pulling a fast one on the CBS board” to avoid scrutiny by offering Sheindlin just under $100 million, as any purchase over this amount of money would have needed approval from the board.
“CBS thus paid Sheindlin between $95 and $99.99 million for the rights to the Judge Judy episode library that Moonves had sold for virtually nothing,” the suit stated.
Rebel is now claiming not to have received any money from this sale despite claiming to be contractually entitled to a percentage of that sum. It remains to be seen how this lawsuit will pan out for all the parties involved.
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