You don’t get paid $59 million a year without being a shrewd operator.
Judge Judy Sheindlin has shared the secret negotiation tactics she used to lock down an incredible $59 million a year salary with US television network CBS.
A legal dispute between CBS and Rebel Entertainment, the company behind Judge Judy in the early days of the show, saw Sheindlin controversially deposed. But this used this as leverage in a shrewd tactic to get close to the figure she wants.
“CBS had no choice but to pay me what I wanted because otherwise I could take it wherever I wanted to take it or do it myself,” she said in court transcripts obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Sheindlin believes she could make the show herself and cut out the middleman. But as long as CBS keeps picking up the cheque, she’s happy to keep going with the network.
The television reportedly plays hardball in negotiations, meeting the CBS president at the time for dinner every three years and handing over an envelope with her demands.
She recalled an encounter with one-time network president John Nogawski:
“John Nogawski came to the meeting at the Grill on the Alley, and I handed him my envelope, and he said, ‘Judy, I have my own envelope.’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to look at it.’ He said, ‘Why not? Maybe it’s more than what’s in your envelope.’ And I said, ‘Well, John, if I look at your envelope, it’s a negotiation. This isn’t a negotiation.’ And he put his envelope away and they gave me what I wanted.”
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