Steven John "Steve" Wilkos (/ˈwɪlkoʊs/; born March 9, 1964) is an American television personality, a veteran of the U.S. Marines and a former Chicago police officer. He has been hosting The Steve Wilkos Show since 2007, and was director of security on The Jerry Springer Show from 1994 to 2007. He had previously substituted for Springer as host on several occasions before being given his own talk show.
Wilkos was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Jeanette (née Pelikan), a beauty school instructor, and Stanley Wilkos, a former police officer. He has a brother and two sisters, the third of four children. Wilkos graduated from Lane Technical High School in 1982, then joined the United States Marine Corps, serving from 1982 to 1989 before joining the Chicago Police Department in 1990, where he was stationed in the Logan Square, Chicago neighborhood. He married his wife Rachelle Consiglio, the former executive producer for Springer as well as his own show, in 2000. They have two children, Ruby (born October 14, 2003) and Jack (born June 19, 2005). They live in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
The Jerry Springer Show
In May 1994, the producers of The Jerry Springer Show, 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. Wilkos recruited several fellow officers for the job, and he retired from the force 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 Springer. In 2005, Wilkos appeared as a guest on Check, Please!, a restaurant-reviewing program on Chicago's PBS station, WTTW.
Beyond Springer, he has made cameo appearances on the MLB Network. He's also appeared on TV series Between Brothers, The Wayans Bros. and The Simpsons, and in the movie Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me as a security guard for Jerry Springer.
The Steve Wilkos Show
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. Steve is known for his abrasive approach to solving disputes.
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."