Judge Joe Brown is not going quietly into the night. He’s telling his side of the story regarding the end of his syndicated court show, which he claims was canceled by CBS Television Distribution over some ol’ “Hollywood trick economics.”
In an exclusive interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Brown says he was promised an annual salary of $20 million, but never got more than $5 million a year.
As previously reported, “Judge Joe Brown” will end its 15-season run next month because Brown could not reach an agreement with CBS on a new contract. There were reports that the sticking point was a “salary disagreement,” with CBS seeking to cut Brown’s compensation because ratings are down for his show.
But Brown says that there was no salary disagreement because he has not gotten a salary for the last seven years. He says that his deal was for a split of revenues with CBS. The problem, he says, came in defining how the money is to be split and how much in fees the distributor would get. “Hollywood trick economics and accounting will show something a little less,” charges Brown, “because they take a great deal out of it.”
Brown says some of the money his show made was plowed into the development of other CBS shows — including a court show with Nancy Grace — most of which, he says, “flopped.”
“The truth of the matter is they didn’t offer me a reduction in salary,” Brown tells THR. “They actually were offering me [improved terms] of a 50-50 split with them. The issue basically was the adjustments to gross income.” By that, Brown means how CBS accounts for the revenue and the fees it takes to cover its costs, distribution and other fees.
CBS Television Distribution produces and distributes both “Judge Judy” and “Judge Joe Brown,” which ranks as No. 2 in the ratings out of more than a dozen legal and court programs.