While all syndicated shows are steadily losing audiences, court shows have the slowest rate of viewer erosion.
Accordingly, by the end of the 2000s, the number of court shows in syndication had, for the first time, equaled the number of talk shows.
The beginnings of the court show genre are embedded in radio broadcasting, dating back to the mid-1930s.
In the mid-1930s, the Hauptmann trial sparked an upsurge of fascination with dramatized court shows wherein trials and hearings were acted out.
Dramatizations were either fictional cases (often inspired from factual details in actual cases) or reenactments of actual trials.
The role of the judge was often taken by a retired real-life judge, a law school professor or an actor.
Though there was risk of libel and slander suits in producing court case recreations, this threat was commonly sidestepped by taking from trials of the distant past, with the original participants dead.
Prior to 1936, there were only 2 major radio court shows, The Court of Human Relations and Goodwill Court.The genre began in radio broadcasting in the 1930s and moved to television in the late 1940s, beginning with such TV shows as Court of Current Issues, Your Witness, Famous Jury Trials, etc.