40 Hours of Television

The class is over, but the discussion continues. Does the media shape reality, or does reality shape the media? Art can imitate life...and life can imitate art. "40 Hours of TV" will explore the media and its impact on us all.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Court Show Reality

I mentioned earlier that I enjoyed watching Judge Judy every day. Yes, every day. I know what you must think of me, but hey, what can I say?

There was a time when I watched a lot of court shows. I can't remember all of their names (Judge Joe Brown and...er...the others) but I watched. Most were variants of the generic court show theme, although a few (Judge Hatchett! That's the other one!) tried to do more than just hear cases.

One show I didn't watch as often as the others was Judge Mathis. I'm not sure what it was about his format, but perhaps I was up to my ears in court shows at the time. I tuned in on occasion.

It turns out one of my Philosophy 197 classmates was a litigant on Judge Mathis! I was pretty excited to hear about this, because you don't often get the behind the scenes perspective of what happens on a court show (or other reality shows, for that matter).

The one thing I thought was really interesting was that the Judge Mathis show called my classmate, not the other way around, (and these shows always say "If you're in a legal dispute with your dog, call Judge Judy at 1-800-blah blah"). You'd think the shows would get enough callers with cases that the whole season could be covered.

Now, I don't know if what my classmate experienced is typical of appearing on a court show, so this instance may only apply to the Judge Mathis show.

My classmate reports being called by a producer of the show; apparently the producer had been looking through court cases and found something about my classmate's experience interesting.

Once the formalities are ironed out, and it's time to tape, the producers will fly you out to where the show is taped (don't know if it's first class or not...I'll try to find out) and put you up in a hotel (a nice hotel? I'll find out!).

The day of the taping, my classmate was interviewed by a producer in order to create a dramatic narrative. You might think what you see on a court show is the natural progression of the case, but apparently that's not so.

And how much does one get paid to be on a show like Judge Mathis? Ready?


That's it! But if you're a defendant, the show actually pays for whatever judgment is handed down (if you watch the credits of any court show you'll see the disclaimer about how the litigants are paid from a fund). I think my classmate won. I'll get more details if I can. In the meantime, if you have been on television (such as a game-show contestant, reality-show contestant, court show, etc), leave remarks and share your experience. The commenting system allows for you to post anonymously, in the event you do not want to reveal your identity, but I'd be interested in hearing your perspective of the experience.


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