Judge Judy is often considered the most popular television program in syndication. It is an "arbitration-based reality court show".
As with many similar shows, going back to The People's Court (the show which started the premise), two real-life parties to an actual lawsuit agree to voluntarily dismiss their cases with prejudice in exchange for appearing on the show. The amount of any "judgment", along with appearance fees for both parties, is funded from the show's advertising and syndication revenue.
- Meaning, no matter the outcome, they cannot refile the case in an actual court to get a second chance at success.