Two Of The Longest Running Shows Have Been Canceled

Judge Mathis and The People’s Court have been canceled.

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

When you think about fan-favorite shows getting canceled, you likely think about the high-profile cancellations that regularly happen on streaming platforms such as Netflix and HBO Max. But daytime television is full of shows that audiences have tuned into for years and even decades before these beloved shows suddenly end up on the chopping block. Case in point: Deadline reports that both Judge Mathis and The People’s Court are finally coming to an end.

judge mathis people's court

Certain demographics hearing that Judge Mathis and The People’s Court are now canceled likely have the same question, and yes: those shows never left the air. At this point, these are downright venerable television shows, with Judge Mathis lasting for 24 seasons and The People’s Court lasting for a whopping 26 seasons. For comparison, both of these shows have had more television seasons than NCIS, which is considered one of the longest-running dramas (and certainly one of the longest-running procedurals) of all time.

And while it’s easy to dismiss Judge Mathis and The People’s Court as trashy reality television, these shows have made history and even picked up some major accolades along the way. Judge Mathis himself, for instance, is the longest-running male host of a television program, and his show picked up an Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program Daytime Emmy back in 2018 (incidentally, an African American jurist had never won in this category before then). And The People’s Court took home that same award in 2014, 2015, 2020, and 2021, making it the court show that has taken home the most awards in this particular category.

If these shows have been so popular, though, then why are they suddenly getting canceled after literally decades on the air? While no official statements have been made other than the difficulty of marketing daytime syndicated television in general, it seems like the sheer availability of streaming services may have made these cancellations inevitable.

In addition to both Judge Mathis and The People’s Court being available to stream via YouTube TV and fuboTV (meaning fewer people tuning into syndicated reruns on television), we can only assume audiences looking for a hit of legal drama are finding alternative sources of entertainment online.

And savvy daytime TV watchers probably noticed the writing was on the wall for both Judge Mathis and The People’s Court back when Dr. Phil aired its last season. Dr. Phil is a big name in daytime TV, but he joined other big names (ranging from Ellen DeGeneres to Maury and Wendy Williams) who are no longer creating new content for syndication. It seems like the bottom is dropping out of much of the daytime market, and it will be interesting to see what manages to survive the fall.

Incidentally, whether you loved or hated Judge Mathis and The People’s Court, you should respect how much they transformed the television landscape for many years. In particular, The People’s Court introduced the idea of participants agreeing to binding arbitration, essentially creating the modern-day legal reality show. Of course, how you feel about legal dramas will likely determine whether news of these cancellations has you crying, cheering, or just sad that you’ll never again get a chance to make a fool of yourself in these iconic courtrooms.