Petri Hawkins Byrd, the longtime bailiff on the "Judge Judy" show, has revealed that he will not be appearing in the new "Judy Justice" show.
Fans first discovered that Byrd would be absent from the upcoming IMDb series when its trailer was released, but the 63-year-old told Entertainment Weekly that he learned of the decision last March, when Judge Judy Sheindlin announced she was going to do a new courtroom program during an appearance on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." Up until that point he had not been included in any discussions about the new show.
"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," Byrd told EW.
At the time, his wife, Makita Bond Byrd, a longtime "Judge Judy" producer, was scheduled for brain surgery, and Byrd said he only followed up on why he had not been informed of the new show two months later.
"I didn't have time to think about or ask about 'Judy Justice,'" he said. "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?'"
Byrd, who had served as Sheindlin's bailiff since 1996, said it was during that call that she said he was not being asked to join the new 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 added that it did not appear as if Sheindlin fully 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."
In a statement released on Friday, Sheindlin said, "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."
"Judy Justice" will air beginning Nov. 1 and can be viewed on IMDb TV. The show will see a new stenographer as well as law clerk Sarah Rose and Sheindlin's granddaughter, who will be a legal analyst, Fox News reported.
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