Judith "Judge Judy" Sheindlin fans may notice a familiar face from the Judge Judy family is not taking part in her new series, Judy Justice. Petri Hawkins Byrd, the longtime bailiff on Judge Judy for 25 years, has been left out of the IMDb TV series. Byrd starred alongside Sheindlin since its beginning in 1996. He opened up to EW.com about not being asked to join the show.
Byrd revealed he thought he would've gotten the chance to audition for the role but only heard about Judy Justice when it was announced in March 2020. Bryd didn't initial reach out to Sheindlin about whether he was coming onto the new show once Judge Judy wrapped in April, due to his wife Makita Bond-Byrd, a longtime producer with the show, undergoing brain surgery. Byrd's wife has had 95 percent of the tumor removed and has completed a successful third round of chemo.
Byrd stated he was too focused on his wife's health at the time and explained:
“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?'”
When Byrd finally heard from Sheindlin, he explained price was the reason why he wasn't invited to the new show. According to Byrd:
“She informed me I was not being asked to come along on the project. 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.”
Byrd maintained the conversation the two had "ended pleasantly enough," but still felt a bit slighted by what happened and was confused he wasn't given the chance to say if he wanted to continue their relationship or not. Sheindlin released a statement to EW, where she claimed:
“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.”