Courtroom-themed shows have been a staple of syndicated television for many years. One of the earliest and most enduring examples of this realtiy-based genre (long before the term "reality TV" had even been coined) is Divorce Court. It may be hard for some of today's younger audiences to believe, but the original Divorce Court bowed in 1957 and lasted 12 years in daily syndication. A new, harder-edged Divorce Court bowed in 1985 and ran another five seasons. The current version, involving real-life divorcing couples and even more hard-edged, bowed in 1999. In both versions, divorcing couples presented their stories before the judge Voltaire Perkins in the 1950s and 1960s version; William B. Keene (best known for presiding over the William Bonin "freeway killer" trial) issued his rulings in the 1980s. A new case was presented each day, with usually but not always both litigants
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