(December 21, 2000 - New York) - Marilyn Milian has been named the first female judge of “The People’s Court,” the program that launched the entire television court show genre, it was announced today by Stu Billett, the series’ executive producer and creator. Milian, who formally tendered her resignation from the Miami County Court this week, will join the program early next year, replacing Judge Jerry Sheindlin who has chosen to retire from the bench. Cases with Milian presiding will begin airing in March 2001. “Not only does Marilyn have an excellent track record as a Circuit and County Court Judge, she also has tremendous charisma, a terrific sense of humor and an uncanny ability to get to the heart of cases,” said Billett. “Over the years we have been incredibly fortunate to have had three great men in Joe Wapner, Ed Koch and Jerry Sheindlin presiding over the show. We are now moving in a new and exciting direction and are thrilled to have Marilyn as our first female judge.” “We believe that adding a fresh face to a familiar franchise is a winning combination for the premiere court show on television,” said Dick Robertson, President, Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, the series’ distributor. “While court shows traditionally draw an older audience, we think Judge Milian has the style, range and youthful personality to broaden the demographic appeal of ‘The People’s Court’ and bring in younger viewers to this extremely viable and valuable long-term franchise.” “I am excited to become the first female judge of the longest-running court show on the air. I am also honored to be the first Judge to represent the Hispanic culture on television,” said Milian. “During my service in the Courts, I found the small claims cases to be the most rewarding. Hopefully with my firm grip on the issues, plus a little humor, the viewers at home can learn something.” Judge Jerry Sheindlin, who joined “The People’s Court” in 1999, has decided to step down from the bench. “These past two seasons have been a wonderful fantasy and I truly enjoyed the adventure,” said Sheindlin. “Part of the adventure was trying to nip at the heels of my wife--unfortunately, I could never catch up with her. So instead of trying to follow in her footsteps, I’ve decided to be the first to retire and let her follow me for a change,” he joked. “In passing the gavel to the new presiding judge on ‘The People’s Court,’ I wish Marilyn success.” Milian, 39, was appointed to the Miami Circuit Court by Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 1999, where she has served in the Criminal Division. Prior to that, she spent five years in the Miami County Court in the Domestic Violence Court and Criminal and Civil divisions. She was appointed to the County Court by then-Governor Lawton Chiles. Before serving in the County Court, Milian worked from 1984-1994 as an Assistant State Attorney for the Dade County State Attorney’s Office (Janet Reno hired her for position). Milian, fluent in Spanish, also spent a year at Harvard Law School as the director of training for the Guatemala Project, where she was responsible for training the Guatemalan trial judiciary, defense and prosecution bar in investigatory and trial techniques. Milian received her law degree from Georgetown Law School, where she graduated cum laude. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Miami, where she graduated summa cum laude at the top of her class with a 4.0 grade average. Milian is married to John Schlesinger, an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of Florida. They have two daughters, Cristina and Alexandra. Milian was born in Queens, New York and moved to Miami with her family when she was eight years old. Her parents were both born in Cuba. The now classic “The People’s Court” premiered in the 1981-82 season and ran through the 1992-93 season, producing 2,340 episodes and often ranking among the highest-rated syndicated series. “The People’s Court” returned in syndication in 1997 and, last month, celebrated its 3000th show. “The People’s Court” draws on ordinary people who have filed grievances in civil court and have opted to have their cases heard and mediated on the show. Cases run the gamut from disputes between neighbors, family members and intimates to dissatisfied customers suing businesses. The decisions, based on current law, are final and binding. “The People’s Court” has already been cleared for the 2001-2002 season in more than 75% of the country. “The People’s Court” is a Ralph Edwards/Stu Billett Production and is distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.
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