Judge Mathis On What Led To His Long-Running Syndicated Show And What's In Store For The Future
"I do take pride as a Black male to be the longest-running Black male on TV and as a judge because Black men have such negative stereotypes."
by Aria Bell
February 28, 2023 at 4:36 pm
Judge Greg Mathis is one of daytime TV’s national treasures as the longest-running Black male host and the second-longest court show judge on television.
While the iconic show Judge Mathis, distributed by Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution, is wrapping soon, he has a new show and other opportunities brewing he knows his viewers will love.
Mathis has given television fans some of the funniest and most memorable moments on TV during the day on the Emmy award-winning Judge Mathis program. On Feb. 17, news broke that cancel the Judge Mathis show will end after its 24th season, per Variety.
However, a few days later, Mathis posted a video teasing fans that he would be back on their television screens.
“I’m happy to be able to announce to you that you’re still going to have me around perhaps for a judge show, perhaps for a judge show and a talk show on political issues, or perhaps just a talk show. We’ll have to wait and see…this week you’ll hear. But I want to thank you more than anything for all the support you’ve given me,” he said.
The next day, the 62-year-old posted a picture of a Variety article on Instagram with a caption announcing his new partnership with Byron Allen’s Allen Media Group (AMG).
Through this deal, Mathis will host a new court show, Mathis Court, premiering in Fall 2023. He’s most excited about the different roles this new chapter in his life will bring because he will be able to touch on passionate topics.
“First, I’m most excited to once again show people how to overcome obstacles, this time within 24 business hours. With Byron, I believe we’ll have more success not just as a judge show and entertaining show,” Mathis told Blavity. “He also owns The Grio, and we’re discussing me having a significant role at The Grio. So, I think we’ll have a lot more relevance to society not only with Mathis Court but other entities Byron has.”
He continued, “You’ll see pretty much the same, Judge Mathis. You know…I am who I am. Everybody knows everything you see about me in the community; you’ll hear the streets say the same thing. So, I don’t know how to be anybody else, but what you will see are other hats. You’ll see me wearing more hats outside of the judge show. You’ll see it in a more open manner.”
Mathis feels that everything in his career has come full circle because he can work with and support people who look like him, which is always a goal in any of his work.
“It gives me a sense of fulfillment to be able to help build a fast-growing media company owned by a Black man and the other avenues where I can contribute,” Mathis said enthusiastically. “I’m a civil rights chairman of Rainbow/PUSH Coalition Reverend [Jesse] Jackson’s organization, former member of the NAACP national board, and political activist, so I think we’ll be able to bring a lot of justice to the economic deprivation that we see in Hollywood – depriving Black production companies, Black creators and Black producers of equal opportunities or equal access. So, that brings me fulfillment to know that I’m working against that and working to empower my community in that way.”
Judge Mathis has had many milestones in his career, like his show winning an NAACP Image award, receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, holding leadership roles within organizations, and helping with prison reform, among others.
However, although he’s thankful for what he’s accomplished, Mathis says he’s nowhere near being done since his purpose while on earth is to empower and uplift others.
“It’s kind of hard for me to feel all that. I did all that? I don’t feel all that. I feel challenged to continue to make a difference in our community. Sometimes it’s challenging and in many instances comes from hopelessness, and I’m trying to keep hope alive, as my mentor would say, and continue in the struggle,” he shared. “We read, and 1/3 of our people are still living in poverty, and there’s tremendous challenges to educating our young people. I don’t believe it’s best to ride off into the sunset and live a good life, go to my house in Malibu, and sip margaritas on the beach…I think the blessings came from committing myself to a purposeful life when I was behind bars and decided to transform.”
The media personality started on television after being in the public eye during his run for Michigan‘s 36th District Court judge.
At age 17, he was arrested for having a gun and marijuana on him, which landed him behind bars for nine months. He was released and given a second chance, so he dedicated his time to turning his life around. He got his GED, obtained a bachelor’s degree, and went to law school to continue his education. During his campaign, he was widely criticized for his past, but it didn’t affect residents’ views of his character since he won the election.
“When the media attacked when I was running for judge, it became a big media watch campaign in Michigan. When I won, the national story went out… ‘former street gang leader becomes judge 15 years after leaving jail,’ so the Hollywood types started calling to do movies, TV shows, and all that. That led to the Judge Mathis show,” he said.
Mathis wants his legacy to be remembered as a judge who fought a good fight to inspire change and confidence within communities since he’s an avid advocate for civil rights, political injustice, prison reform, rehabilitation for drug users, a family reality TV show and more.
“I’m grateful to the viewers who’ve kept me on and, of course, thankful to God, who I think is responsible for this purposeful life. I do take pride as a Black male to be the longest-running Black male on TV and as a judge because Black men have such negative stereotypes. We are the most negatively stereotyped humans in the universe, so it’s good to be able to offset that,” he said.
“I want to inspire change. That is inspiring people who are facing tremendous obstacles, to give them the hope they can, and a roadmap. That’s why I often talk about my journey on the show [Judge Mathis]. And in addition, I would hope that they would receive wisdom to expand their life, and enhance their life,” the judge added.
Fans should have no fear in the interim, as Judge Mathis will continue its run through this season until you can catch him on the new show.