Hot Bench Title Card
|Directed by||Karen J. Beck|
|Narrated by||Rino Romano (2014-2020) Christopher Thomas (2020-present)|
|Opening theme||Michael Egizi|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||1,035 (March 27, 2019)|
|Production location(s)||Sunset Bronson Studios|
|Camera setup||Multiple camera|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Distributor||CBS Television Distribution|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Original release||September 15, 2014 –|
Hot Bench is a nontraditional panel-based court show that made its debut in first-run syndication on September 15, 2014. The series is produced by Judge Judy's Judge Judy Sheindlin, who also created the program and concept with executive producers Randy Douthit, Maureen FitzPatrick and David Theodosopoulos and supervising producer James Glover for CBS Television Distribution.
Production and international airings
On December 11, 2014, Hot Bench was renewed for a second season. The show airs in the UK on TruTV (UK and Ireland), and in Canada on Yes TV and in syndication. The show has produced 1,035 episodes as of March 27, 2019
The series features a panel of three judges, Michael Corriero, Tanya Acker, and Patricia DiMango, who preside over small-claims cases, and then argue the merits of the case amongst themselves in the chamber room before rendering a verdict (under the format, only a majority – two of the three panel members – need to agree on the verdict). DiMango was on the Brooklyn, New York Supreme Court prior to accepting this job, and Corriero was employed by the New York State court system at the time of his hiring, while Acker was an attorney before being selected to join the program. The panel acts as an arbitral tribunal, and as with most televised court shows, the cases are a form of binding arbitration in which the litigants forgo their actual lawsuit in favor of appearing on the program.
Attorney Larry Bakman was originally on the panel with DiMango and Acker for its first two seasons on air. In October 2016, Bakman announced that he was leaving Hot Bench to focus on his law practice. Bakman's final episodes aired October 28, 2016, and Corriero's first episode was scheduled to air November 1, 2016, with series creator Judge Judy Sheindlin and her husband, former The People's Court judge Jerry Sheindlin, serving as guest judges on the October 31, 2016, broadcasts.
The concept was inspired by Judy's vacation to Ireland, a country which occasionally uses panels of three judges to handle one case: "When my husband Jerry and I were in Ireland recently, we visited the courts and watched a three-judge bench, which I found both fascinating and compelling." She added, "I immediately thought what a terrific and unique idea for a television program that brings the court genre to the next level. We have assembled three individuals with extremely varied backgrounds to serve as the judges. They are smart and talented, with terrific instincts and great chemistry, and are sure to create a 'hot bench'."
The bailiff is Sonia Montejano, who was also the bailiff for Judge Joe Brown from 2006 to its end in 2013.
- "'Hot Bench' Renewed for Season Two". broadcastingcable.com. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- Yaniv, Oren (January 23, 2014). "Judge gives up gig in Brooklyn for TV show, 'Hot Bench,' produced by Judge Judy". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
- "Hot Bench" adds a third judge, New York Post, 26 October 2016
- Marechal, AJ (January 23, 2014). "CBS To Launch New Courtshow From Judge Judy In Fall". Variety. Retrieved September 9, 2014.