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

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith helps shear a sheep at Bears community event

Roquan Smith has more sheared sheep than tackles on his stat sheet as a pro football player.

Smith and several other Bears rookies participated in a hands-on community event at Lambs Farm in Libertyville, Illinois on Monday where he assisted farm staff with the sheep's grooming. Smith said it was a first for him despite growing up around animals. 

"It's like on the norm for me though, playing linebacker you're in the trenches," Smith said of the experience.

"Shaving a sheep, I never really envisioned myself doing something like that," Smith said via "I was around animals [growing up], but it was more so cows and goats here and there and dogs and cats. I've petted a sheep before, but never actually flipped one and shaved one."

Bears rookies got up close and personal with more than just sheep.

Smith was selected with the eighth overall pick in April's draft and will assume a starting role opposite Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker this season. Here's to hoping he can wrangle opposing ball-carriers like a sheep waiting to be sheared.

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

USA Today Sports Images

The Bears' defense is ahead of its offense, but Matt Nagy doesn't see that as a problem

Asking players about how the defense is “ahead” of the offense is a yearly right of passage during OTAs, sort of like how every baseball team has about half its players saying they’re in the best shape of their life during spring training. So that Vic Fangio’s defense is ahead of Matt Nagy’s offense right now isn’t surprising, and it's certainly not concerning. 

But Nagy is also working to install his offense right now during OTAs to build a foundation for training camp. So does the defense — the core of which is returning with plenty of experience in Fangio’s system — being ahead of the offense hurt those efforts?

“It’s actually good for us because we’re getting an experienced defense,” Nagy said. “My message to the team on the offensive side is just be patient and don’t get frustrated. They understand that they’re going to play a little bit faster than us right now. We’ll have some growing pains, but we’ll get back to square one in training camp.”

We’ll have a chance to hear from the Bears’ offensive players following Wednesday’s practice, but for now, the guys on Fangio’s defense have come away impressed with that Nagy’s offense can be. 

“The offense is a lot … just very tough,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “They’re moving well. They’re faster. They’re throwing a lot of different looks at us and that’s just Nagy’s offense. If I was a receiver I would love to play in this offense, just because you get to do so many different things and you get so many different plays. It just looks fun over there.”

“They’re moving together, and I like to see that,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We’re not a bad defense. They’re practicing against us, so they’re getting better every day, and vice versa. It’s a daily grind. It’s going to be tough, but those guys, they got the right pieces. I like what I see out there. When somebody makes a play, they’re gone. Everybody can run over there. It’s the right fit for Mitch, it’s the right fit for the receivers, the running backs.”

Still, for all the praise above, the defense is “winning” more, at least as much as it can without the pads on. But the offense is still having some flashes, even as it collectively learns the terminology, concepts and formations used by Nagy. 

And that leads to a competitive atmosphere at Halas Hall, led by the Bears’ new head coach. 

“He’s an offensive coach and last year coach (John) Fox, I couldn’t really talk stuff to (him) because he’s a defensive coach and it’s like Nagy’s offense so if I get a pick or something, I mean, I like to talk stuff to him,” Amukamara said. “He’ll say something like ‘we’re coming at you 2-0.’ Stuff like that. That just brings out the competition and you always want that in your head coach.”