Faith Jenkins' life has taken her on a path from being a Louisiana beauty queen to Wall Street attorney and a tough prosecutor in New York, and now she brings her justice background to television as the star of her own court show. The no-nonsense judge presides over arbitration-based cases that are presented by defendants. As in most courts, televised or otherwise, some cases are straightforward while others have some twists to them.
This courtroom series stars former family court judge Judy Sheindlin. Each episode finds Judge Judy presiding over real small-claims cases inside a televised courtroom. Her no-nonsense, wisecracking approach has been unsuccessfully copied by other TV court judges.
Many popular court shows are on TV. How can the genre improve? How about using a three-judge panel? That's the concept of "Hot Bench," created by Judge Judy Sheindlin. After hearing each case, the judges discuss it among themselves before rendering a verdict. The jurists are experienced civil litigator Tanya Acker, New York State Supreme Court Justice Patricia DiMango, and former criminal defense attorney Larry Bakman. The show's title comes from a term describing a court action in which a judge frequently interrupts lawyers with questions.
The host of the daytime syndicated court show "Judge Jeanine Pirro" goes prime time with a Saturday slot on Fox News (where she also serves as a legal analyst). "Justice With Judge Jeanine" showcases the former Westchester County District Attorney's legal take on the week's news, current high-profile court cases, plus other issues and trends in the criminal justice world.
A judge hears small-claims cases in this series that served as a template for several similar courtroom series. The litigants in the case agree to drop their lawsuits and have the case heard on the show. Since the show is not a real courtroom, the decision is simply binding arbitration the litigants agree to abide by.
Americans just can't get enough courtroom drama, as is evidenced by yet another addition into the daytime court show fray. Former judge and prosecutor Kevin Ross adjudicates real cases, in which he tries to show litigants alternative ways of dealing with their issues and make them consider the consequences of their actions.
Judge Greg Mathis is unlike most adjudicators you'd see in a courtroom. The former Detroit-area district court judge infuses his court sessions with a generous dose of humor as he listens to diverse litigants plead their small-claims cases in his TV courtroom. A regular segment, Ask Judge Mathis, features the judge answering viewer questions to advise people with legal situations that they face. Prior to entering the legal world, Mathis was involved with gangs and spent time in jail as a young man before turning his life around.
Cuban-born Alex Ferrer -- a former police officer, trial attorney and criminal court judge -- presides over a charged courtroom where he hears landlord disputes, complaints from consumers and other small-claims cases.
There are plenty of primetime newsmagazines on broadcast and cable TV that bring viewers stories of unsolved murders and other crimes, but the crime genre is underrepresented on daytime TV, which is dominated by talk and court shows. "Crime Watch Daily," hosted by veteran crime journalist Matt Doran, fills that void. The daily, hourlong show -- centered around the key pillars of mystery, crime and drama -- explores unsolved murders, undercover investigations and shocking crimes that have been caught on video. In addition to a team of national correspondents, the show's lineup of affiliates serves as an "extended newsroom," offering their local reporters to cover crime-related stories in their markets.