Talk Show Host Tavis Smiley Makes a Difference to Troubled Teen on JUDGE HATCHETT


Television and radio personality Tavis Smiley makes a guest appearance on the syndicated courtroom television series from Sony Pictures Television, JUDGE HATCHETT on Thursday, December 16, 2004 (check local listings for station and time). The airdate of Tavis Smiley's intervention on JUDGE HATCHETT coincides with the last day of Smiley's own NPR radio broadcast.

Tammy McDowell brings her son Sheldon into Judge Hatchett's courtroom because she is concerned about his aggressiveness towards family members -- specifically his sister, which recently forced her to file domestic violence charges against him. Additionally, Sheldon was recently brought up on 1st degree burglary charges when him and his friends were caught breaking into several neighbors' houses. Sheldon is convinced that he won't serve any time for his felony burglary charge since he was only acting as the lookout, and is more upset over the fact that his own mother pressed charges against him. Judge Hatchett and Tammy McDowell agree that Sheldon needs a positive male role model in his life, so Judge Hatchett sentences him to a day with Tavis Smiley, who's motivated millions by his own perseverance and success in publishing, public speaking, radio, television, and who tries to inspire youth to greatness through his own foundation.

Sheldon is introduced to Tavis at the studios of his NPR radio show, and while en route to Tavis' television show, the two discuss some of the issues Sheldon is having at home. Tavis stresses to Sheldon that the most important place for him to start is in respecting his mother when she asks him to do something. Tavis inquires about how much they do as a family unit, and when Sheldon tells him that it's not often because his mom is often working, Tavis encourages Sheldon to talk with him mom and tell her honestly, "I wish I could see more of you." Back in the courtroom, Judge Hatchett further sentences Sheldon to participate in a local mentoring program, the Concerned Black Men of Greater Columbia (S.C.), so that he will benefit from a positive male influence.

Upon Judge Hatchett's final sentencing, Tammy McDowell thanks the Judge for taking on her son's case and setting him up to spend time with Tavis Smiley. She notes that she wasn't aware of how Sheldon felt about the time she spent at work, and that the lines of communication between them have improved greatly.

About The Tavis Smiley Foundation:

The Tavis Smiley Foundation mission is to enlighten, encourage and empower youth by providing leadership skills that will promote and enhance the quality of life for themselves, their communities and our world. Tavis Smiley founded the organization in November 1999 and received 501 (c) 3 status in March 2000. Mr. Smiley founded the organization to help young people achieve their potential. In addition, Mr. Smiley is concerned that this is the first generation of young people assuming positions of leadership and authority who have not lived through the civil rights struggle.

About Judge Hatchett:

Judge Glenda Hatchett served as a judge for nine years in Georgia's juvenile court system. During her tenure on the bench, Judge Hatchett pioneered an effective method for communicating with truants through intervention, thus modernizing the state's juvenile court sentencing procedures. Today, by incorporating this program into her self-titled series, in which litigants "do time" with community leaders and others who have found success in the professional work force, the arts, social activism, public service and athletics, she sentences litigants to positive, life-altering experiences, which also impact the lives of her viewers.

Sony Pictures Television is one of the television industry's leading content providers. SPT produces and distributes top-rated, award-winning programming in every genre, including series, movies and family entertainment for network and cable television; first-run syndicated series; off-network syndicated programs; and theatrical releases. SPT ( is a Sony Pictures Entertainment company.

SOURCE: Sony Pictures Television

CONTACT: Karen Barragan of Sony Pictures Television, +1-310-244-6467,

Web site: