Dana Tippin Cutler and Keith Cutler aren’t your typical Kansas City couple. The two practicing lawyers are the hosts of “Couples Court with the Cutlers,” a reality TV show.
“(The show) combines our experience as a couple for 35 years now along with our legal experience,” Keith told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. On the show, the Cutlers said they preside over real cases with real people in real situations. All of the featured couples have some element of alleged infidelity.
“This isn’t a show where everybody on there is cheating and you’re just waiting to hear how they got caught,” Keith said, adding, “We help the couples resolve that because that issue of alleged infidelity is keeping them from being able to move their relationship forward and get the best out of their relationship.”
According to Dana, who is also the immediate past president of the Missouri Bar Association, the opportunity to be on TV came “out of the blue.” They started taping last summer, and the show premiered in September.
Around the end of March, the Cutlers found out that “Couples Court” was nominated for a daytime Emmy award for “Outstanding Legal Courtroom Program.” Other nominees in their category included heavyweights like “Judge Judy,” “Divorce Court” and “The People’s Court.” (“Judge Mathis” ended up winning).
“It’s huge,” said Dana of the nomination. “We’ve been on the air for six months. For the Academy to even see us, like ‘Hey, they’re out there and they’re doing something unique and different in this genre of daytime TV’ … this was pretty spectacular.”
The Cutlers have found a mission in the show.
“People have said to us consistently, ‘We don’t know couples that have been together a long time,’” said Dana. “It’s kind of become our mission to say, marriage is fun … it’s a good thing; it’s not necessarily bad to be in a long-term relationship.”
The Cutlers started out as friends, meeting in college in Atlanta: Dana at Spelman College and Keith at Morehouse College.
Over the years, they’ve weathered many storms together: They’ve been self-employed, they’ve raised three sons. While they’ve never had infidelity issues, they’ve had friends who did, and they watched how that played out.
“We understand a lot of the pieces that people are dealing with,” said Dana.
They also make an effort to not bring their work life home with them. Dana said her best friend has called them “best compartmentalizers” that she’s ever met.
“We’re practicing lawyers; we’re used to dealing with other people’s problems,” said Keith. “We try not to internalize that too much and take it out on each other … I’d much rather laugh and talk with her than to argue with her.”
Dana said that they hear from viewers, who say that they’re learning from the Cutlers.
“It does become community service in its own way to couples across the country,” she said.