Judge Judy bailiff Petri Hawkins Byrd ‘confused and dismayed’ at being left out of Judy Justice

Petri Hawkins Byrd spent 25 years by the bench as the stalwart bailiff on Judge Judy however when star Judy Sheindlin recently moved on to a new series, Byrd was left in the cold.

Fans were shocked to learn that the bailiff was being replaced on the 78-year-old’s new IMDb TV series, Judy Justice, but none were more surprised than Byrd himself, he revealed to EW.  

After more than two decades on Judge Judy, Sheindlin informed her bailiff during a phone call that his salary was too high for the budget on the new show. 

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Shocked: Judge Judy’s bailiff of 25 years, Petri Hawkins Byrd, was ‘confused and dismayed’ to learn he’d been ‘priced out’ of Judy Sheindlin’s new series Judy Justice

‘My assumption is if you were going on to do something else, that you were at least going to ask me if I wanted to have the opportunity to audition for the role,’ Byrd said.

Following the 25th season of Judy Judy, which was filmed outside of her usual Los Angeles studio due to COVID-19, Sheindlin ended her series and moved over to IMDb TV. 

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Byrd had no idea he’d been replaced by Judy’s former personal security guard, Kevin Rasco, on Judy Justice until he phoned the judge and asked her point blank about his future.  

‘It wasn’t until July that I called the judge and asked, “Hey, should I look for something else or am I included in the Judy Justice project?”‘ he recalled. 

‘My assumption is if you were going on to do something else, that you were at least going to ask me if I wanted to have the opportunity to audition for the role,’ Byrd said.

Byrd has served as Judy Judy’s bailiff since the show premiered back in 1996. 

‘She informed me I was not being asked to come along on the project,’ Byrd continued. ‘I didn’t inquire as to why, that’s her choice. But she did inform me that fundamentally, I was priced out as the new bailiff on her new show. My salary would have been too much. 

‘I was curious: How would she know? She didn’t ask me. She didn’t give me an opportunity to have accepted a lower salary.’ 

Meanwhile, Petri’s wife, Makita Bond-Byrd, who was a producer on Judge Judy was asked to join Judy Justice. Makita, however, had to turn the opportunity down due to serious health issues.

‘She informed me I was not being asked to come along on the project,’ Byrd continued. ‘I didn’t inquire as to why, that’s her choice. But she did inform me that fundamentally, I was priced out as the new bailiff on her new show. My salary would have been too much.’

‘The call with Judy ended pleasantly enough,’ he recalled. ‘I don’t think she understood how confused and dismayed I was after being there for 25 years, from the beginning of her career, and not being at least given the opportunity to say whether or not I wanted to continue that relationship.’

‘I’m like if I did something wrong or offended you or brought shame to the show, or if was involved in numerous scandals in the 25 years we were together, I might understand why you didn’t want to bother in the end,’ he added. ‘That’s just the way it went. I just know that God has something else for me.’

Judge Judy released a statement in response to EW: ‘Byrd is terrific and we had a great 25-year run. This is a whole new program with a whole new cast and an exciting energy.’ 

‘The call with Judy ended pleasantly enough,’ he recalled. ‘I don’t think she understood how confused and dismayed I was after being there for 25 years, from the beginning of her career, and not being at least given the opportunity to say whether or not I wanted to continue that relationship.’

Included in the new cast is Sheindlin’s own granddaughter, Sarah Rose, who is a law clerk and is just ‘snarky’ as Judy herself.

‘Judy Justice is a really exciting new adventure,’ she said in a promo clip. ‘I have been sort of alone for the last 25 years, now I have a new team. My law clerk happens to be my granddaughter.’

She adds: ‘Sarah is wired like I am, she’s a little snarky, I like that!’

‘Whitney is a fabulous stenographer,’ Judy adds, with Whitney explaining: ‘I am able to read back the record for her and she can utilize that to verify things.’

Judge Judy released a statement in response to EW: ‘Byrd is terrific and we had a great 25-year run. This is a whole new program with a whole new cast and an exciting energy.’ (new bailiff Kevin Rasco pictured right)

In May this year year it was reported that Judy – worth an estimated $445million – became the highest paid woman on TV after negotiating a $47million salary for Judge Judy’s 25th season. 

It is unclear what Judy’s salary is for her new show but it is rumored to be even higher. 

Judy Justice will premiere on November 1, with episodes rolling out each weekday on the streaming service.

All rise: Judy Justice will premiere on November 1, with episodes rolling out each weekday on the streaming service

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  • Judge Judy bailiff Petri Hawkins Byrd not asked to do new show | EW.com