Steve Wilkos

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Steve Wilkos
Wilkos before a show-taping in 2011
Steven J. Wilkos

(1964-03-09) March 9, 1964 (age 59)
Occupation(s)Television host, talk show host
Years active1982–1989 (Marine)
1990–2002 (Police officer)
1994–2007 (Director of Security - The Jerry Springer Show)
2007–present (Television host)
Known forJerry Springer and The Steve Wilkos Show
Political partyRepublican[1]
(m. 2000)
Military career
Allegiance United States of America
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service1982–1989
Rank Sergeant (E-5)
Unit7th Comm Battalion, Okinawa
MCB Quantico, Virginia
MACG-48, Illinois
MCRD Parris Island
Battles/warsCold War
  • Team Spirit 1983

Steven J. Wilkos (/ˈwɪlks/; born March 9, 1964) is an American television personality and former law enforcement officer with the Chicago Police Department.[2] He has been hosting The Steve Wilkos Show since 2007, and was director of security on Jerry Springer from 1994 to 2007. He had previously substituted for Springer as host on several occasions before being given his own talk show.

Early life and education[edit]

Wilkos was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in what is now the Roscoe Village neighborhood in North Center, Chicago, and is the eldest of four children. His parents are Jeanette (née Pelikan), a beauty school instructor, and Stanley Wilkos, a former police officer who was in the Korean War as an army paratrooper.[3][4][5] He graduated from Lane Technical High School in 1982.[6][7]


Wilkos in the 1980s as a U.S. Marine.

In October 1982,[8] Wilkos joined the United States Marine Corps, serving in South Korea, Japan, Illinois, Virginia, and South Carolina before being discharged in March 1989.[9]

Chicago Police Department[edit]

Wilkos joined the Chicago Police Department in 1990,[2] where he was stationed at various times in the Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and Near West Side neighborhoods of Chicago.[10]

Jerry Springer[edit]

In May 1994, the producers of Jerry Springer, taped in Chicago at that time, needed security guards, so they decided to hire Wilkos and other off-duty police officers to work part-time for the show.[11] Wilkos recruited several fellow officers for the job,[2] and he retired from the force in 2004 and worked exclusively for the show beginning in 2001.

Entertainment Weekly reported that Wilkos became a professional wrestler with the Maryland Championship Wrestling during a temporary production hiatus of Jerry Springer.[12][13] In 2005, Wilkos appeared as a guest on Check, Please!, a restaurant-reviewing program on Chicago's PBS station, WTTW.[14] In 2006, after Springer began what would be a seven-episode stint on Dancing with the Stars, Wilkos filled in for him in the meantime and Springer later recruited Wilkos to substitute for him each Monday, calling him "the obvious choice."[15]

Beyond Jerry Springer, he has made cameo appearances on the MLB Network. He's also appeared on TV series Between Brothers, The Wayans Bros. and in the movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me as a security guard for Jerry Springer.[16]

The Steve Wilkos Show[edit]

In January 2007, NBC Universal Television officially announced that Wilkos would host a talk show of his own based at NBC Tower in Chicago. The self-titled program premiered on September 10, 2007, and received high ratings.[17] Steve is known for his abrasive approach to solving disputes on his self-titled show, tackling many different issues like child abuse, molestation, and cheating partners.

Wilkos expressed disapproval with the first season of the talk show, as he reflected: "All I did was yell at everybody and throw people off the stage. There was no level of emotion -- just hardcore yelling." Wilkos said this was how he was produced by his original executive producer, but that his wife encouraged him to be himself and go with his "gut."[18]

Like other tabloid talk shows, The Steve Wilkos Show aired primarily on affiliates of Fox, MyNetworkTV and The CW. Only scattered ABC, CBS and NBC affiliates in smaller markets aired it to fill their timeslot. The CW Plus has aired The Steve Wilkos Show since 2007, airing weekdays between 8am-10am.

Personal life[edit]

He married his wife Rachelle Consiglio, the executive producer for Jerry Springer as well as his own show, in 2000.[19][20] They have two children.[4][21][20] They lived in Park Ridge, Illinois until moving to Darien, Connecticut in 2009 when The Steve Wilkos Show moved production to nearby Stamford.[22][6] In 2015, Wilkos sold his Park Ridge home for $750,000.[6] Wilkos also owns a summer house in Camp Lake, Wisconsin.[6][23]

Car wreck[edit]

On January 21, 2018, Wilkos was involved in a rollover crash near his home and was charged with drunk driving. He has asked a judge for an alternative punishment which would result in charges being dismissed upon completion of an education and treatment program.[24][25] On a 2019 episode of The Breakfast Club podcast, Wilkos stated that he had completed treatment and the charges had been dropped.[26]


  1. ^ "Steve Wilkos and Jerry Springer Talk the Election and the Cubs". YouTube.
  2. ^ a b c Weller, Sam (1998-01-12). "Talk Toughs". Weekly Wire. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  3. ^ Malooley, Jake (September 1, 2012). "Steve Wilkos Interview". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Lipton, Michael A. (May 4, 1998). "Brawlbuster". People. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  5. ^ "ANNA PELIKAN's Obituary on Chicago Tribune". Chicago Tribune.
  6. ^ a b c d Goldsborough, Bob (January 7, 2015). "Talk show host Steve Wilkos sells Park Ridge house". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  7. ^ Wilkos, Steve (19 March 2015). "#TBT What a difference a year makes! Check out Steve his freshman vs sophomore year #SteveWilkos". Twitter.
  8. ^ "Former Marine has his own network T.V. show".
  9. ^ "Marine Veteran Steve Wilkos: How He Went From the Chicago PD to His Own Daytime TV Show". 4 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Steve Wilkos - Parenting, Jussie Smollett, Being a Cop - Jim Norton & Sam Roberts". Youtube. 15 May 2019. Archived from the original on 2021-12-21.
  11. ^ Graham, Colin (1999). "Steve's Interview". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  12. ^ Hiatt, Brian (2002-03-29). "ABC Cancels "Once and Again"". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 2008-01-01.
  13. ^ MCW Pro Wrestling (29 October 2007). "MCW Steve Wilkos & Gillberg Vs. Dino Divine & Chad Bowman". Archived from the original on 2021-12-21 – via YouTube.
  14. ^ "Vivienne on Check Please!". Toyus Interruptus. 2005-10-20. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  15. ^ Duca, Lauren (November 23, 2016). "The Passion of Steve Wilkos: From 'Jerry Springer' Muscle to Daytime TV Healer". Complex.
  16. ^ "About Steve Wilkos". WGN-TV. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  17. ^ Pursell, Chris (2007-09-11). "'TMZ,' 'Wilkos' Have Strong Debuts in Syndication". TV Week. Retrieved 2007-12-15.
  18. ^ Skladany, Joey (February 12, 2015). "Steve Wilkos Gets in Touch with His Softer Side". Zimbio.
  19. ^ Wilkos, Steve (20 November 2014). "#TBT #ThrowbackThursday Going back to 2000, one of the best days of my life!". @SteveWilkosTV.
  20. ^ a b Rubino, Lindsay (March 19, 2012). "Ringmaster Balances 'Springer,' 'Wilkos' in the Daytime Circus". Broadcasting and Cable. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  21. ^ Nunn, Emily (August 12, 2005). "The zookeeper". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved May 29, 2014.
  22. ^ Fillo, Maryellen (March 12, 2010). "Steve Wilkos and Rachelle Wilkos Show Off Their Home". The Hartford Courant. Retrieved March 12, 2010.
  23. ^ Stein, Anne (November 9, 2008). "Finding heaven in Costa Rica, Maui". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on November 12, 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2018.
  24. ^ "Steve Wilkos asks judge for leniency in DUI case". News 12 Connecticut. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  25. ^ Nickerson, John. "Wilkos applies for diversionary program for drunk driving charge". Stamford Advocate. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Steve Wilkos Weighs In On R. Kelly, Jussie Smollett, Talks New Season, Old 'Springer' Days + More". YouTube.

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