“Judge Steve Harvey” is Back: Showrunner Myeshia Mizuno Talks To Us About the New Season

I’m a long-time fan of court shows like People’s Court and Judge Judy as well as a fan of Steve Harvey hosting Family Feud. So, a few years ago when ABC announced Judge Steve Harvey, I was very interested in checking it out. I was not disappointed. Steve Harvey has created a court of common sense instead of a court of law (yes, those two are sometimes in conflict) and the results are always hilarious, but often heartwarming as well. Judge Steve Harvey returns to ABC tonight, February 7th, at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Mountain and Central), concluding a night of comedy returns including The Connors, Not Dead Yet, and  Abbott Elementary.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Judge Steve Harvey’s showrunner and executive producer, Myeshia Mizuno about the upcoming season and the show in general. Mizuno helped develop the show having worked on a lot of court shows in the past including Judge Judy, Divorce Court, Lauren Lake Paternity Court, Couples Court with the Cutlers, and Money Court.

The first thing I asked was what to expect in the upcoming season and the short answer was more of the same. She said “more fun, more hilarity, more Steve helping folks settle a situation. You know, the one thing I love about this show is it’s not a typical court show. To me, it's an unscripted comedy show set in a courtroom. And people are just themselves. And so is Steve. I think the one reason why the show has become popular and people are enjoying it is you see a bit of yourself in the stories. They are hilarious and they're real people with a real situation. You know, a lot of our cases, you wouldn't see on another court show because Judge Judy doesn't want to hear that you want to sue your husband because he's getting on your nerves. But we do want to hear about it.”

I also asked about the development of the show, which premiered in January 2022. “The idea was Mr. Harvey's. He was approached by ABC a few years ago, they were in talks about possibly creating another sitcom … and he said ‘no, I want to be a judge.’ And they were like, OK. And so I think it kind of started from there.“

Judge Steve Harvey regularly features all races, all ages and people of all looks and backgrounds. And Harvey himself also seems to appeal equally to just about everyone. I asked Mizuno about that appeal. “Because he comes from very humble beginnings, even though he has now risen to a place of being fashionable and being seen in Paris Fashion Week and all that stuff. But he's still a lot of that everyman. He understands that. And he talks in a way that people appreciate and understand. In his early days – and he even talks about it – people would tell him maybe he needed to take a speech class. He's like, ‘this is the way I'm gonna talk. And I'm always gonna talk like this.’ And that resonates with people. It's an authenticity of him being who he is. And that's why he is able to connect with all kinds of people, you know, black, white, young, old, and hence is why it's been fun for us to get all kinds of people to come on the show.”

One of the things I love about the show is it not only is it hilarious, but it has heart. And the two often go together. I asked Mizuno what makes a good Judge Steve Harvey case, and it got her talking about an episode that exhibited exactly that. “It's all about the story. You’ve got to be able to tell a good story and tell us what happened. There's one that we just aired this past season … between two cousins, two mature African American women from Chicago. Plaintiff was suing her cousin for non-payment of money she gave to cremate her mother and the cousin was keeping the ashes until she got payment. So the defendant said she's holding my mother hostage and plaintiff’s like ‘no, this is collateral’. And they were serious. … but it was hilarious and they were hilarious. They're like, ‘no, death is a part of life’. And the cousin even said, ‘when I picked up the ashes, I took a photo, sent it to her. I got the package secured’. So we put the photo up. She had literally the box of ashes with a seat belt on in the car. And then she said, ‘I took her down to Sam's Club. She liked to shop, so we went into Sam's Club…’”

She continued, “This is a real story. And then the other thing was because of this, they really started arguing and the two cousins kind of had a separation. And so the defendant really got upset and started crying. She's like, ‘I miss her. We aren't just cousins, but we grew up like sisters. And this has really caused a riff because she's holding the ashes, but she's insistent on her money.’ So it was just so real life but yet so comical. But yet so heartfelt. And he's the perfect person and was the perfect person to settle the matter. They were able to exchange the ashes, she was able to get her money and they hugged one another and said we're gonna we're going to call each other again like we used to.”

One of the reasons I wanted to do this interview is I wanted to tell someone on the show about how much I enjoyed one particular case. In fact, my son came into the room while I was watching with concern on his face. He said he’d never seen me laugh that hard in his life. I told the story to Mizuno and mentioned it was the case about the guy who got stuck in the back of a van – twice in one day. Mizuno remembered the case as well. “And I tell you, he was so mad about that. His cousin, she kind of that's the same way he is. He's over dramatic. We all know that family. But literally he was so mad about his shirt getting ruined.”

The new season of Judge Steve Harvey premieres tonight at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. Central and Mountain) on ABC. Just give it a chance, I think you might come to love it just as I have.

Doobie Moseley
Doobie is a co-owner of LaughingPlace.com having founded the website with his wife Rebekah in 1999. He became a "hardcore" Disney fan in 1995. His favorite Disney film is Snow White and his all-time favorite attraction is the PeopleMover. Having lived near both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, he's visited them literally thousands of times. He currently lives in Nothern California with his wife and teenage son, but looks forward to living in Florida again soon. His absolutely favorite activity is going on a Disney cruise (he's done 12 as of February 2023).