Judge Karen is an American arbitration-based reality court show that aired in first-run syndication and debuted on September 8, 2008 in 48 of the top 50 U.S. markets. As with other court shows, such as The People's Court and Judge Judy, a retired real-life judge presides over small claims court cases. On this show, the judge is Karen Mills-Francis, an African-American woman twice elected Miami-Dade County Court judge, who claims that "justice isn't always black and white". She did not wear the traditional black robe, but instead a burgundy one. The introductory sequence showed her presiding over cases, with the announcer saying "She's tough, she's fair, and she cares". The show was produced and distributed by Sony Pictures Television.
To distinguish itself from other shows in the crowded field, Judge Karen permitted litigants to cross-examine witnesses, with a segment at the end in which Mills-Francis answers videotaped questions from viewers. This segment was entitled "Ask Judge Karen"
Karen Mills-Francis's past and present TV court shows
- On November 16, 2009, Litton Entertainment announced that they would be returning Mills-Francis to the air with Judge Karen's Court. The show premiered Monday, September 20, 2010 and in many markets took the place of the cancelled Street Court (which Litton had also produced). Despite reports that the show was doing well and had been renewed for 2011, Judge Karen's Court—like Judge Karen—was axed after one season.
- In November 2012, Entertainment Studios announced that they would be launching their fourth court show, Supreme Justice with Judge Karen, in Fall 2013. Entertainment Studios also produces the court shows America's Court with Judge Ross, We the People With Gloria Allred, Justice for All with Judge Cristina Pérez and Justice with Judge Mablean, all of which use a nontraditional/dramatized court show format.
- "Bold and Sassy "JUDGE KAREN" Brings Daytime Drama to Court (Sony press release)". Reuters (reuters.com). August 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-13.
- Troubled Syndie Market Takes Its Toll, Broadcasting & Cable, January 10, 2009
- "'Karen' Back In Session (Broadcasting & Cable Press Release)". Broadcastingcable (broadcastingcable.com). December 11, 2009. Retrieved 2009-12-11.
- "Entertainment Studios to Launch Fourth Court Show, 'Supreme Justice,' This Fall - 2012-11-28 21:02:26 | Broadcasting & Cable". Broadcastingcable.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.
- "The Daily Edition". Dailyedition.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-12-21.