Jeremy Bradley- Steve Wilkos - or Steeeeeeve - is joining us on the line right now. Hey, Steve. How's it going?
Steve Wilkos- Good. I'm doing great.
JB- First off, I have to ask: you were head of security for the Jerry Springer Show, how many times was your bald head rubbed?
SW- It still gets rubbed even to this day. I don't know what the attraction is, but everybody likes rubbing the head for some reason. It's a good thing people don't have sandpaper on their hands or else I'd have nothing but a skull left.
JB- (laughing) And of course, the next logical question is, Does it do anything for you?
SW- No, it doesn't do anything for me. In fact, I prefer not to have my head rubbed. (laughing) But people like doing it, so to make them happy, I let 'em. But I would prefer not to have my head rubbed.
JB- All right, we'll put that on the record for anybody listening right now. If you meet up with Steve…
JB- We saw several years ago, you got right in there during the altercations on the show. You probably took a lot of punches and kicks. What's the worst injury you ever had?
SW- I think, a girl, she once… I was ducking down and I jumped up to break up a fight and she was swinging at somebody and she punched me right in the eye and I probably had blurred vision for about three months.
JB- What is your background in security? We know the Chicago police officer thing, and you also did wrestling, is that right?
SW- I did wrestling. Right after high school I joined the marine corp so I have a lot of experience with weapons training and manoeuvers and stuff like that when I was in there. And then when I became a police officer, I worked every security detail off-duty as well. Running the security on the Springer show, which was a lot more involved than what you see on the stage. It's also co-ordinating security for the guests, producers for when they go out on field shoots, co-ordinating Jerry's security detail when he travels. I was also his bodyguard for a lot of years. People thought that I just showed up and I did security for the show but it had many layers of security that I had to build when I was the director of security for the Jerry Springer show.
JB- Did you ever think that you'd be hosting a talk show some day?
SW- Never. My father was in the military, he was a police officer in Chicago for 20-something years. I was in the military and was going to be a police officer just like my father for about 30 years and I never once imagined being in the entertainment field in any capacity.
JB- Let's talk about the show. It's airing in syndication now. It's quite a bit different than Jerry's outrageousness. His is more violent and aggressive. You know, it's pandemonium. While he sort of takes a step back and just lets his guests carry on, you really get in the faces of some of yours. Is it effective? Is it one of those intimidation factors that you'll scare them…
SW- Oh, no, no, no. It's not something that I set out to do. It's my personality. I think the show is moulded around me and who I am and my personality. As a police officer you don't take a step back, you take a step in. There's no fighting on my stage. I don't allow it. I don't allow people to use foul language on my show. So, I take a lot more control. I do the show as I am a Chicago policeman. And that's the format we do. We try help people, we try to get people out of bad situations. It's a totally different show than the Springer show. Springer show is a lot of fun. I enjoy watching it. It's still a great show, but I enjoy doing my show. It gives me something to allow me to be myself, to run a show and it's a great opportunity for me. I've been very fortunate. We just recently got picked up for a third season, which is really incredible for me and my staff. We're very lucky to be as far along in the game as we are.
JB- You tackle some tough issues on the show - a lot of domestic situations or stories involving children as well -- what is it you're most passionate about? You do a lot of shows about helping kids.
SW- And that is what I'm passionate about, because I am a father of two young children and they've changed my life to a point where I never could have imagined. And I know my biggest concern is their wellbeing and safety. So, when I see children that aren't being taken care of and are being abused, it really touches a nerve inside me.
From Springer security guard to talk show host, Steeeeeve talks with JB!