Judge Judy is an American arbitration-based reality court show presided over by Judge Judy Sheindlin, a retired Manhattan family court judge. The show features Sheindlin adjudicating real-life small claim disputes within a simulated courtroom set. Prior to the proceedings, all parties involved must sign arbitration contracts agreeing to Sheindlin's ruling, handling and production staff management. The series is in first-run syndication and distributed by CBS Television Distribution. The program has won three Emmy awards and has had the highest ratings in courtroom programming in the United States. The program debuted in 1996 and its 23rd season commenced in September 2018. In March 2015, Sheindlin and CBS Television Distribution extended their contract through the program's 25th season.