Jargon Watch: Justice porn

When I was a kid, there was a strangely tedious yet compelling show on in the middle of the afternoon called Crown Court, there members of a jury picked from the electorial role in the Granada television region (North West of England) heard court cases that were created (featuring actors as judges, witnesses and the accused). When I was off ill from school it would send me to sleep but my interest wouldn’t allow me to nod off totally. I instead existed in a blissfully comfortable (almost narcotic) half-awake state under a duvet.

So I can understand the appeal in a new hot category of American reality justice television called justice porn. Reality shows like Judge Judy have been found to provide reliable ratings (at least 1.5 Neilsen ratings) and are relatively cheap (under 500,000 USD per episode) to make. Justice porn veteran Judge Judy now dukes it out with over a dozen competing shows on American television.

Kudos to Thank You, Your Honor, May I Have Another? – The stubbornly seductive perils of justice porn by Greg Beato for Reason Magazine (January 2009 print edition).