The half-hour court show is cleared in 75% of the U.S., including in the top 43 of the top 50 markets, on the CBS, Sinclair, Nexstar, Scripps, Tegna, Weigel and Gray station groups. It had been slated to launch in fall 2020 but, like so many other shows, was pushed back due to the pandemic.
The show stars Judge Rhonda Wills, who currently practices law in Los Angeles but is also licensed to practice in Texas and New York. She previously appeared on WeTV’s Sisters in Law and also has appeared as a legal contributor for such outlets as CNN. The show will focus on conflicts between family members, hence the title.
When the show launches this fall, it will have 150 episodes in the can, all shot this spring and summer at Wrigley’s new media facility -- a refurbished ten-theater movie complex in the heart of Lexington. Lexington is Wrigley Miller’s home and Wrigley Media Group is taking advantage of a tax incentive in the state, known as the Kentucky Film Incentive, to build out the studio and produce the show.
Litigants will join the judge and a small gallery in the studio, with everyone observing appropriate COVID-19 protocols.
“As we were out talking to stations about the show, we learned a lot,” said Ross Babbit, chief content officer for Wrigley Media Group and executive producer for Relative Justice. “One of the things we learned is that stations didn’t like seeing remote litigants.”
By the time Relative Justice launches in September, most of the country should be vaccinated and the pandemic fading, so the show decided to make the extra effort to produce the program as if the pandemic was already behind it.
Besides Relative Justice, Wrigley Media Group is developing, producing and selling other shows to other platforms. Babbit spent many years developing and producing lifestyle shows for such outlets as DIY, HGTV and Travel, and Wrigley produces such programs as Escape to the Chateau and You Live in What? for HGTV.
“One of Misdee’s goals was to get into the syndication space where we can own the content. It’s a long-range play of having content we can own in addition to being work-for-hire for a cable outlet,” Babbit said
Court also can be produced relatively efficiently, giving it a low barrier to entry. And there’s some room to enter the syndicated court genre right now, with Judge Judy going out of production after this season and into repeats on stations, and MGM/Orion’s court shows airing in repeats.
Lou Dennig -- who helped launch Judge Judy and produced Judge Joe Brown, Swift Justice with Nancy Grace, Divorce Court, The High Court and Personal Injury Court -- will executive produce the show, along with Barry Bloom of The Braverman/Bloom Company.
The series is produced by Wrigley Media Group, in association with Bloom ‘N Apple Entertainment and is distributed by David Bulhack, president and founder of Big Fish Entertainment. Eric Kittleson of EW Media Group is handling advertising sales.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.