5 Questions with... Steve Wilkos


5 Questions with... Steve Wilkos

Wednesday, May 5,2010
ByJeff NuichCSN Chicago Senior Director ofCommunicationsCSNChicago.comContributor
Want to know more about your favorite Chicagomedia celebrities? has your fix as we put the citysmost popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite weeklylocal celeb feature entitled "5Questions with..."

Every Wednesday,exclusively on, it's our turn to grill the local mediaand other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports relatedquestions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fansalike.

This week one of the mostpopular nationally syndicated talk-show hosts in the country who can beseen weekdays locally with back-to-back episodes on WCIU, The U(10:00 and 11:00 a.m.) he's a true Chicagoan who simply fights forjustice each day on The Steve Wilkos Show here are "5 Questions withSTEVEWILKOS!"

BIO: Steve Wilkos is the host of NBC UniversalDomestic Television Distribution's nationally syndicated series "TheSteve Wilkos Show."

A native of Chicago, Wilkosserved his country in the U.S. Marine Corps for almost seven yearsbefore joining the Chicago Police Department. For almost 12 years, hekept the streets of Chicago's volatile 14th District (Shakespeare) safewhile moonlighting during his off hours on television. Wilkos retiredfrom the police force in 2001 and now devotes himself full-time to hisfamily and his show.

Prior to starting a show ofhis own, Wilkos filled in for Jerry Springer as host of thelong-running "The Jerry Springer Show" on more than 50 episodes, usinghis law-enforcement background and no-nonsense style to create his ownidentity as a talk-show host.

Touted as a man ofand for the people, Wilkos' popularity has skyrocketed and hissincerity and moral fiber have made for a very diverse fan base thatincludes people from all walks of life. When not watching cartoons withhis two young children, Wilkos makes time to catch his favorite show ofall time, "The Simpsons," for which he lent his voice for a cameo on apast episode (a milestone he proudly calls "the highlight of my careerso far"). Wilkos has also appeared in several TV shows and films,including the hit motion picture "Austin Powers: The Spy Who ShaggedMe."

In 2008, Wilkos became a national spokesmanfor USA CARES, a charitable organization dedicated to providingfinancial guidance to post 911 active duty U.S. military servicepersonnel, veterans and their families.

"I amhonored to be associated with USA CARES, and fully support their visionof providing the tools to sustain military personnel and theirfamilies," says Wilkos.

A huge sports fan, Wilkoscan be spotted at various professional sporting events in his freetime, such as baseball, basketball and footballgames.

Wilkos and his wife, Rachelle Wilkos, who isexecutive producer of "The Steve Wilkos Show" and "The Jerry SpringerShow," have two young children and live inConnecticut.

1) Steve, thanks for taking time out of yourbusy schedule to be interviewed for CSNChicago.coms "5 Questionswith" We really appreciate it. The first question is a pretty heavyone.

Your show very often focuses on the safety andwell being of children. We've watched numerous heart-breaking storieson your show about child abuse and child endangerment, with theparentscaregivers of these poor kids on your stage acting like they'redoing nothing wrong. Once the camera goes off, what steps are taken byyou and your staff to make sure that some of these potentially harmfulindividuals are brought to justice?

Wilkos: It's alwaysheartbreaking to see young kids brought into a dispute and we areheavily involved in making sure all the steps are taken to remove thosekids from dangerous situations. We work with the local police, providetapes and contact the appropriate authorities to make everyone is awareof a problem. If rehab is needed, we can help get them there. Here atthe show, we provide in-house counselors and follow up resources forall of our guests, especially for thekids.

2) Speaking of your guests, it's amazing howyou're able to keep your cool on stage. How are you able to controlyour emotions with those individuals who get in your face with someof them pretty much "challenging" you to slugthem?

Wilkos: I have a lot of experience dealing withheated situations. In the Marines and on the police force, people arealways trying to get in your face and it's your job to keep your cool.It's in my background to not explode when some idiot thinks he can geta rise out of me on stage. It's this background that prepared me to notcross that line. Yeah, sometimes I want to just yell back, but it's myresponsibility to keep things in order and tempers undercontrol.

3) We all know you're a huge sports fan,especially being a native of the greatest sports city in the world.What sports did you play growing up and what Chicago teams do you stillreligiously follow on a daily basis?

Wilkos: Baseball is my No. 1passion in the world. I grew up near Wrigley Field and I am a huge Cubsfan. I have a 4-year-old son who is getting into sports, so I'm livingvicariously through him. He's met Bobby Valentine, former manager ofthe Mets. That was pretty cool. I also follow the Bears. I catch a Sox,Hawks or Bulls game when I can. Right now, I'm playing a lot ofgolf.

4) Now in its third season, "The Steve WilkosShow" tapes in Connecticut after being shot here in your hometown thefirst two seasons. How's the transition to a new location been from aTV standpoint and, more importantly, how's the adjustment been for youand your family so far?

Wilkos: Leaving Chicago was a big adjustment;Chicago is my home. I'll be honest, it took some time to get used tothe new location. Professionally, it's great, they built me abeautiful, state-of-the-art studio and there are a lot of people inthis area who are very talented television industry vets, so you getmore resources because so much of the country's TV is produced overhere. So the working environment is fantastic, the move has been greatfor not just me, but also Jerry Springer and Maury Povich. Withthis move, we really hit the ground running. We're in our third seasonand enjoying a new-found rhythm -- the move helped withthat.

5) In your wildest dreams, did you ever thinkyou would one day end up having your own nationally syndicated talkshow, reaching millions of viewers from coast-to-coast? Your formerpartners in the Chicago Police Department have to be proud of whatyouve accomplished.

Wilkos: I didn't. I was never, 'Oh, I hope toget a talk show one day.' This isnt something I ever aspired to do, itjust happened. Its my job and I enjoy it. I still think at 46, Imgoing to someday play left field for the Cubs. But all the experiencesI had, with the police and the Marines, and then with Jerrys show, allgot me to where I am now and I do enjoy having an impact on my guests'lives. The greatest compliment is when people come up to me on thestreet and say, 'Keep up the good work; keep doing what you're doing.'That makes me motivated to keep trying to make the show better and dogood things for our guests, audience members andviewers. Your bio states you're thenational spokesman for USA CARES, a charitable organization dedicatedto providing financial guidance to post-911 active duty U.S. militaryservice personnel, veterans and their families. Tell us about thisspecial organization and where can readers make adonation?

Wilkos: USA CARES is an organization that helpsfamilies of service members who are no longer bringing in the income tosupport their families because they're supporting our freedom while onactive duty, usually for a considerable amount of time. Sometimesdoctors and lawyers and other professionals who can give their familiesa comfortable standard of living find themselves in a tough spot afterdeployment. We step in and make sure that those families are beingtaken care of, that their bills are being paid and they keep theirhomes. USA CARES is just a great organization. I was in the Marines forover six years, and when youre overseas, you dont want to be worriedall the time about your family. Please consider making a donation byvisiting you so much.

Wilkos LINKS:
"The Steve Wilkos Show" officialwebsite

"The Steve Wilkos Show" official Facebookpage
Steve Wilkos onFacebook

"The Steve Wilkos Show" official Twitterpage

It's official: Blackhawks-Bruins to play at Notre Dame Stadium in 2019 Winter Classic


It's official: Blackhawks-Bruins to play at Notre Dame Stadium in 2019 Winter Classic

It’s official: The Blackhawks are headed back outdoors.

The NHL announced that the 2019 Winter Classic will be held at Notre Dame Stadium, featuring the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1.

"The Blackhawks and Bruins, two of our most historic franchises, will be meeting outdoors for the first time at the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "Notre Dame Stadium, with its capacity approaching 80,000, will provide an ideal setting for this ground-breaking event and will host the largest live audience ever to witness a game by either of these teams."

"The Chicago Blackhawks are honored to be participating in this marquee event at an iconic venue like Notre Dame Stadium," Blackhawks President & CEO John McDonough said in a statement. "The University of Notre Dame has strong alumni roots in both Chicago and Boston, and, with an established rivalry between the Blackhawks and Bruins, fans will be treated to an exciting game in a unique atmosphere. We appreciate the invitation to the game and look forward to what will be a great day for both franchises and the National Hockey League."

It's the sixth time the Blackhawks will be playing outdoors, and their league-leading fourth Winter Classic. The Blackhawks are 1-4-0 in outdoor games, and are winless in three Winter Classic games.

Chicago's only outdoor win came against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2014 Stadium Series Classic, a 5-1 victory at Soldier Field.

Joao Meira spills the first news of the Fire's offseason


Joao Meira spills the first news of the Fire's offseason

The wait to find out which players have their options picked up or declined by the Fire might still be a couple weeks, but the first news of a player move in the Fire's offseason came via Twitter.

Defender Joao Meira announced he won't be returning to the club in 2018.

Meira signed with the Fire just before the start of the 2016 preseason after being out of contract in Europe. The Portuguese center back signed a one-year deal with a club option for the second year.

After he played 28 matches with 26 starts in 2016, the Fire picked up his option. He became even more of a fixture at center back in 2017, beating out Jonathan Campbell for the other starting spot alongside Johan Kappelhof. Meira played in 30 regular season matches and made 27 starts, finishing fourth on the team in minutes played (2,412).

That Meira won't be back isn't a major surprise for a few reasons. First, he was out of contract. He was one of two players, along with Bastian Schweinsteiger, on the Fire's roster that the team had no control over for 2018. On top of that, the 30-year-old had made it clear that he wanted to be closer to his home and family in Portugal.

Meira's departure leaves a gap at the center back position for the Fire. Kappelhof, who enters the third year of a three-year guaranteed deal in 2018, and Campbell, who will likely have his club option picked up, enter as the only healthy center backs in 2018. Christian Dean was added in August via trade, but is coming off a broken foot, an injury that has plagued him before. His status for the start of the 2018 season is unclear.

Grant Lillard, a potential homegrown signing and a senior at Indiana, could compete for time at center back next season. He is one of the top rated players in the country for the Hoosiers, which are the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. While Lillard could step in from a numbers perspective and would add size to the Fire's back line (Lillard is 6-foot-4), he wouldn't be able to replace Meira's ability on the ball. Meira wasn't as effective of a defender as Kappelhof, but was arguably the best passer among the Fire's center backs and helped alleviate pressure at times.

This also opens up an international spot on the Fire's roster. The Fire went over the alloted total last season, but were able to put John Goossens and Jorge Bava on the disabled list to clear room. Meira's exit gives a bit more flexibility in that department.