LOS ANGELES – December 11, 2014 – HOT BENCH, the new syndicated court program created by Judge Judy Sheindlin, has been renewed for a second season and upgraded in five of the top 10 markets for the remainder of the season, it was announced today by CBS Television Distribution (CTD) and Queen Bee Productions.
HOT BENCH will be upgraded in seven markets on Monday, March 30, 2015, through the 2015-16 season. It will move to the following CBS-owned affiliates: WCBS, New York at 9 a.m. (#1); KCBS, Los Angeles at 2 p.m. (#2); WBBM, Chicago at 2 p.m. (#3); KTVT, Dallas at 2 p.m. (#5); WBZ, Boston at 9 a.m. (#7); WFOR, Miami at 9 a.m. (#16); and KCNC, Denver at 3 p.m. (#17).
HOT BENCH, presided over by Patricia DiMango, Tanya Acker and Larry Bakman, is the #1 new first-run syndicated strip of the season with a 1.5 HH rating and 2 million viewers (Live + SD, season to date). In the recently concluded November sweeps period, HOT BENCH averaged a 1.7 HH rating and 2.3 million viewers.
"I'm gratified that viewers have embraced HOT BENCH," Sheindlin said. "I came up with the idea on a trip to Ireland last year with my husband and we observed a three-judge bench and found the process fascinating. I'm glad the viewers agree!"
"HOT BENCH has improved stations' time periods across the country and in many cases has become a standout in a station's court block," said Joe DiSalvo, president of sales, CTD. "We're excited to bring the show back next year."
"HOT BENCH came out of the gate strong and kept growing," said Hilary Estey McLoughlin, president of creative affairs, CTD. "Viewers really responded to this new twist on the court genre with multiple judges and a behind-the-scenes look at deliberations. We're thrilled to bring more informative and entertaining cases to viewers next season."
Created by Sheindlin, who headlines the #1 show in syndication JUDGE JUDY, HOT BENCH adds an exciting new dimension to the court genre. The program features a panel of three dynamic judges hearing court cases, arguing the merits of the case amongst themselves and coming to a verdict. Also for the first time, viewers are part of the deliberations and see cameras follow the judges into chambers where they hash out the facts and majority rules.
‘Hot Bench' is a term used to describe a court where the judge or judges frequently interrupt lawyers' presentations with questions, often leading to lively exchanges.
DiMango most recently was the Administrative Judge of the Supreme Court Criminal Term in Brooklyn. According to a recent New York Times front page story, she is known for her "brash style and forceful personality," as well as her efficiency in closing old cases. She was appointed to the bench by Mayor Rudolph W. Guiliani in 1995. She graduated from St. John's University School of Law and received her master's degree in developmental psychology from Teacher's College at Columbia University while teaching third grade at Public School 164 in Brooklyn.
Acker is a Los Angeles-based practicing attorney and political, social and legal commentator. She is a graduate of Yale Law School and earned her undergraduate degree at Howard University in Washington DC. Her television appearances include "Good Morning America," "Entertainment Tonight," "The O'Reilly Factor," "Anderson Cooper 360," "CNBC Reports," "Larry King Live" and "Issues With Jane Velez Mitchell." She has also appeared on Sky News in Great Britain and has been a contributor to the "Huffington Post."
Bakman, who has tried more than 500 Federal and State Criminal Cases, is a member of the State Bar in California and New York. He has had a private legal practice in Los Angeles since 1983. Bakman's practice focuses on defending clients charged with complex violations, such as conspiracy, fraud, assaults and narcotic possession and distribution. Bakman, a former Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney, is a graduate of Southwestern Law School and earned his undergraduate degree at UCLA.
HOT BENCH is executive produced by Randy Douthit, who currently serves as Executive Producer and Director of JUDGE JUDY, and Maureen FitzPatrick. The half-hour strip is produced by CBS Television Distribution and Queen Bee Productions. It is distributed by CBS Television Distribution
CBS Television Distribution is the preeminent company in television syndication. CTD produces or distributes 10 first-run series and holds the largest distributed television library at 70,000 hours strong. Among CTD's critically-acclaimed programs are the #1 syndicated series Judge Judy; talk leader Dr. Phil; the #1 and #2 rated game shows Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!; the Emmy Award-winning talk shows Rachael Ray and The Doctors; the #1 and #2 newsmagazines Entertainment Tonight and Inside Edition, along with The Insider; freshman court show Hot Bench; and popular off-network product, including the CSI and Star Trek franchises, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, NCIS, Criminal Minds, NCIS: Los Angeles, The Good Wife, Blue Bloods, Hawaii Five-0, Hot in Cleveland and Undercover Boss. In addition, CTD handles the domestic television distribution of CBS News, CBS Films and Showtime. CTD is a unit of CBS Corp.