How court shows have adapted productions due to coronavirus

Judge Judy” debuted its 25th and final season of new episodes this fall. During some cases the courtroom audience is visible behind litigants but others it is not. “Judge Judy” uses paid extras for its studio audience, rather than members of the public.

Sheindlin joins the studio remotely from the east coast using a reproduction of the wall behind her on the full set in Los Angeles. This removes the requirement of having Sheindlin in the same studio as well as having to commute from one of her various homes to California (though she normally flies on a private plane for tapings).

When litigants need to present evidence, they place them on clear plastic “easels” that are captured by cameras and then fed to a monitor in front of Sheindlin. Because of the split nature of the production, wide shots of the set have been mostly eliminated, since they would make it obvious the judge is not in studio. 

Her studio audience, which is typically filled with extras and not members of the general public, has been vacant for episodes produced after the pandemic started.

Hot Bench,” which features a trio of judges hearing a single case, has also not made significant on air changes as of yet, though it’s not clear when the episodes airing now were taped.