Former Judge Judy bailiff says he was never consulted before recast
Bailiff Petri Hawkins Byrd said he was "confused and dismayed" to be left out of discussions for the upcoming 'Judge Judy' spin-off series, 'Judy Justice'
One of the crown jewels of daytime television programming, reality courtroom show “Judge Judy,” will take a new form in 2021 as a spin-off series on an entirely new platform — this time, without a familiar face.
Bailiff Petri Hawkins Byrd, who appeared alongside Judge Judy Sheindlin in over 4,000 episodes during the Emmy Award-winning show’s 25-year run, does not appear in the trailer for the show’s upcoming adaptation “Judy Justice,” causing an uproar from longtime fans.
Byrd, who was passed up for the gig in favor of retired Los Angeles probation officer Kevin Rasco, broke his silence on the omission in an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly on Friday, revealing that Shiendlin never even contacted him with an offer.
Instead, Byrd said he found out about the new series like every other “Judge Judy” fan, when Shiendlin announced it on the “Ellen Degeneres Show” in March 2020. The new show, which will debut on IMDb TV on Nov. 1, was reportedly not discussed further between the two while filming ensued for the final season of “Judge Judy” because Shiendlin taped remotely from New York while Byrd and the rest of the crew worked from Los Angeles.
“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,” Byrd told EW.
Byrd said he and Shiendlin did not correspond on the matter for months after production for the final season ended in April, because his priority was to care for his wife, longtime “Judge Judy” producer Makita Bond-Byrd, who was in need of brain surgery.
“I didn’t have time to think about or ask about ‘Judy Justice,’” Byrd said, adding that doctors successfully removed 95% of Bond-Byrd’s tumor and she recently completed her third round of chemotherapy. “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?'”
“She informed me I was not being asked to come along on the project,” Byrd said, adding that he didn’t ask for a reason, but was ultimately told that his salary would have exceeded what the show was willing to shell out.
“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,” Byrd said. “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.”
Sheindlin addressed the matter through a spokesperson on Friday with the statement: “Byrd is terrific and we had a great 25-year run. This is a whole new program with a whole new cast and exciting energy.”
Byrd said his call with Shiendlin did not end on bad terms, however, he isn’t convinced she fully grasped how deeply the situation affected him.
“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,” he said.
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