Petri Hawkins-Byrd
Source: Getty

Judge Judy's Former Bailiff, Petri Hawkins-Byrd, Said He Wasn't Asked to Be Part of 'Judy Justice'

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Oct. 11 2021, Published 11:02 a.m. ET

For two-and-a-half decades, Judge Judith "Judy" Sheindlin handled small-claims disputes on the daytime arbitration court series, Judge Judy. During a 2020 appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, the TV personality shocked fans by confirming that the popular show would conclude after its 25th season in 2021.

Though some of her devoted viewers may have initially thought that she would be putting aside her gavel for good, the judge soon announced that she was working on another project: Judy Justice.

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When the longtime TV personality's new show debuts on IMDb TV in November 2021, one familiar face will be absent from the courtroom: Petri Hawkins-Byrd.

The 63-year-old bailiff kept order in the court on Judge Judy for all 25 seasons of the daytime series, but he will not be part of Judy's upcoming show. Instead, Kevin Rasco will take on the role as the bailiff in the IMDb TV original.

Read on to find out what Petri had to say about the end of his working relationship with Judge Judy, and to find out what he's going to do next.

Petri Hawkins-Byrd
Source: Getty
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Why is Petri Hawkins-Byrd not on the new 'Judge Judy' show, 'Judy Justice'?

When IMDb TV and Judge Judy herself offered new details about the upcoming court series, many were surprised to learn that her longtime co-star, Petri Hawkins-Byrd, would not be continuing as her bailiff.

Petri himself had previously publicly expressed an interest to participate in Judy Justice. In December 2020, he told the Associated Press that he would be "honored" to continue working with Judge Judy on Judy Justice.

Months later, Petri inquired about his potential participation on the show. He learned that he was not going to be asked back.

"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," he said in an October 2021 interview with Entertainment Weekly.

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Petri shared that, after Judge Judy concluded production in April 2021, he focused his attention on his wife, Makita Bond-Byrd (who was a producer on the show), as she completed a round of chemotherapy for brain cancer.

"I didn't have time to think about or ask about Judy Justice. 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?'"Petri continued. "She informed me I was not being asked to come along on the project."

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Petri added that he did not ask for specific details behind his exclusion from the new show. He said that the former prosecutor told him that his salary was too high for Judy Justice.

"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," he said. "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."

Though Petri's wife was actually asked to participate on Justice Judy as a producer, she had to decline because of her health. Petri did confirm that he ended the call with his former co-star on positive terms.

"The call with Judy ended pleasantly enough. 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," he concluded.

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What was Petri Hawkins-Byrd's salary on 'Judge Judy'?

Because the former TV bailiff claimed that his exclusion from Judy Justice had to do with his high salary from Judge Judy, many wondered how much Petri was making per season on the daytime show.

Petri's exact salary has not been confirmed, though we know that Judy herself has long been the highest-paid daytime TV star. During her final few seasons of Judge Judy, the TV star was rumored to be getting a $47 million paycheck each year.

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The bailiff was reportedly earning around $1 million per season during the final years of the show's run, but neither Petri nor anyone from the show has not confirmed this figure.

What is Judge Judy bailiff, Petri Hawkins-Byrd, doing now?

Though viewers won't get to see Petri alongside Judge Judy on her newest program, the former bailiff is hoping to continue with TV work.

The New York native had a guest role as a pastor on The Bold and the Beautiful in the summer of 2021, and he's looking to take on voice roles. Petri also hosts a Facebook Live series called Bonding with Byrd with his wife.

He may still be surprised about why he wasn't given the opportunity to continue his partnership with Judge Judy on her upcoming venture, but Petri is looking toward the future.

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"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. That's just the way it went," he said to Entertainment Weekly. "I just know that God has something else for me."

Justice Judy will premiere on IMDb TV on Nov. 1. New episodes will come out each weekday.

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