Judge Judy’s longtime TV bailiff Petri Hawkins-Byrd was not invited to her new courtroom for IMDb TV titled “Judy Justice”.
Hawkins-Byrd opened up to Entertainment Weekly about being booted after appearing on the show during its 25-season run, starting in 1996.
“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 said.
He heard about “Judy Justice” when she announced the show in March 2020. After the final season of “Judge Judy” aired in April, Byrd stayed busy caring for his wife, show producer Makita Bond-Byrd, as she prepared to undergo brain surgery.
“I didn’t have time to think about or ask about Judy Justice. 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?’” Byrd recounted.
“She informed me I was not being asked to come along on the project. 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.”
He said the call “ended pleasantly enough,” but the conversation left him feeling “confused”.
“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 explained.
Sheindlin released a statement about Byrd’s exit from the show, telling EW, “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.”
“Judy Justice” premieres Nov. 1 on Amazon’s IMDb TV.
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