May 11, 2014

NIELSENWAR 2014-15 Trailer Review: NBC’s “Bad Judge”


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BAD JUDGE:  Thursday 9PM on NBC

THE FACTS:  Rebecca Wright (Kate Walsh) is given to hard drinking and sex in the office (among other places).  She’s also a criminal court judge in LA.  Further complicating her life:  the 8-year old son (Theodore Barnes) of a couple she sent to jail, who’s become her new roommate.  The series creator is Chad Kultgen (his first series) and the nonwriting producers include Will Ferrell and Adam McKay.

WHAT IT’S SAYING:  Judges can be cool!  Rebecca is mainstream TV’s brand of irresponsible, tossing back some booze but always doing the right thing at work, including when it comes to her new unofficial adoptee.

WHAT IT’S REALLY SAYING:  Take a handful of Franklin & Bash, combine with Bad Teacher and a touch of About A Boy, and you pretty much have Bad Judge.  The inclusion of the cute 8-year old kills any possibility that the premise might have embraced real anarchy, and since this is network TV, Judge Wright can’t do anything particularly unwholesome.  It’s not clear where the show goes after establishing its concept, other than repeating it every week.

THE OUTLOOK:  It’s hard to see this having much of a future.  Kate Walsh was an ensemble lead on Private Practice but not a ratings draw by herself, the show’s own storyline waters down any thrill it might have had, and Thursday 9PM is hardly an easy timeslot.  To make matters worse, after surviving Thursday Night Football on CBS through September and October, the show (along with A to Z) will be yanked from its timeslot in February when The Blacklist takes up residence on Thursdays.  It feels strongly like NBC, with a shelf-full of sitcoms waiting for midseason premieres (including the final season of Parks & Recreation), is using this pair as filler in the fall:  great if they happen to make an impact, but otherwise very expendable.

About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."