Courtroom hit “Hot Bench” nominated for a Daytime Emmy

“Hot Bench” is officially in the hot seat with its first ever Daytime Emmy nomination.

The hit, syndicated television show – created by Judge Judy Sheindlin – now gearing up for its third season, has been nominated for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program, the winner of which will be revealed during the Creative Arts Emmys on April 29, followed by the main 43rd annual ceremony on Sunday, May 1.

We sat down with one of the show’s stars, Dyker Heights native Justice Patricia DiMango, to talk about the show and the buzz surrounding the nomination.

“This is just a place in my life that I never expected to be,” DiMango said of her journey to the (televised) bench. “I knew that I wanted to be a judge, I knew that I wanted to be in the criminal term, but I never in my wildest dreams could fathom that I would be in California, waiting to hear my name called for an Emmy. It’s surreal, it really is.”

The show however, is very real, DiMango says, crediting the program’s overall success to just that.

Justice Patricia DiMango
Justice Patricia DiMango

“There’s nothing planned about it,” she said. “You go out there, you handle the case and the litigants are themselves and their conduct in the courtroom [is real]. Each time you go out there with a different case and it just offers you something unique and interesting.

“People love the deliberation process,” she added, noting that the show is unique because of its three-judge bench. “They love hearing how we react and respond in the deliberations. That is the draw to the show, I think. People want to know whether or not you’re thinking along their lines. [On] other shows, they are often ruling straight from the bench, but here, you get to hear it and understand it.”

The show currently reaches over 3.5 million viewers a day and, according to ratings, is the number two courtroom show on television, only behind “Judge Judy.”

Other shows in the running for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program are “Judge Judy,” “Divorce Court,” “Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court,” and “The People’s Court.”

“We’re just getting extremely positive feedback, each of us,” DiMango said. “It’s just been an amazing journey.”

DiMango was appointed by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to serve as a judge in the criminal courts for the City of New York.  That made her the first Italian-American woman to be appointed to that position as well as being elected to the New York State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.   She held the positions of First Deputy Administrative Judge for criminal matters and Second Judicial District and Supervising Justice of the Bronx Felony Project.  Ultimately, she was appointed the Administrative Judge in the New York State Supreme Court Criminal Term Kings County.

You can catch Justice Patricia DiMango alongside Judge Larry Bakman and Judge Tanya Acker weekdays at 9 and 9:30 a.m. on WCBS-TV Channel 2.

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