Hey Guys - Steve Wilkos here! Host of THE STEVE WILKOS SHOW, security on JERRY SPRINGER, former Marine and Chicago Police Department Officer.

I started hosting THE STEVE WILKOS SHOW in 2007 after guest-hosting more than 50 episodes of JERRY SPRINGER. After 8 seasons, my show has over 2 million daily viewers and 3 Prism Award nominations for raising awareness of substance abuse and other social issues.

I've had a cameo role on THE SIMPSONS which was the highlight of my career, and had a role in AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME.

In my free time, I like to watch as many sports as possible, including basketball, football, and baseball. I ride my Harley-Davidson motorcycle, and spend time with my wife Rachelle (my Executive Producer, too) and our 2 kids.

Jus so you know, volunteer moderator /u/courtiebabe420 is here with me today in NYC helping out.

So - let's chat, Reddit. Ask Me Anything!


Edit: Alright - time to go. Thanks for hanging out today, this was fun!

Comments: 293 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

MC203758 karma

As a former marine and a Chicago area firefighter i have one question for you. Did you ever dream that taking that sidejob for security on Jerry Springer would lead you to where you are in life?

RealSteveWilkos133 karma

Never in a million years.

I was gonna be a cop like my dad - my dad was a cop for 30 years and I was gonna be a cop for 30 years.

You gotta remember that I never wanted to be on TV - I never auditioned to be on TV. I'm the only guy in history who got his own TV show who never wanted to be on TV.

0fficerNasty40 karma

Are you the father?

RealSteveWilkos74 karma

I am a father!

Frajer26 karma

What was your scariest moment working security on Jerry Springer?

RealSteveWilkos56 karma

Um, nothing was too scary because it was me and probably like 5 other Chicago police officers. Everyone that comes in the studio goes through a metal detector.

There was no one I was really scared of. Springer show I don't really think of scary moments, I think of hilarious moments.

Frajer21 karma

well then what was the funniest moment?

RealSteveWilkos66 karma

Oh geez.

Um - the funniest I couldn't really even tell you!

It probably was - we had this really big, fat guy on stage. All he had on was a baggy pair of athletic shorts. He was standing on stage in front of the stage stretching out to the audience and I came up behind him and pulled his shorts down. He had nothing on underneath - he was totally naked!

ChunkyYetFunky6921 karma

Mr. Wilkos, thanks for coming to Reddit! What's the most memorable moment you've had on your show?

RealSteveWilkos57 karma

Well, the best moment on my show was when I got hit in the head by a bowl. It produced the highest ratings ever. Check that out on Youtube - it's probably the first thing that comes up!

maaron318 karma

How can I obtain an autograph?

RealSteveWilkos46 karma

Write in to the show! I'll send you one!

notaalt17 karma

What question doesn't let you sleep at night?

RealSteveWilkos65 karma

Whether I'm gay or not. LOL!

Q-gonzalez17 karma

What's your go to story when you were on the police force?

RealSteveWilkos48 karma

Um - oh god, there's like a million.

One time I was getting shot at, that was pretty scary. I buried myself in the wheel well of a car and started shooting back. That was pretty scary.

We ended up kicking her door down, we got I think 15 guns from that. Tons and tons of ammunition. It was 2 lifetimes ago.

drDOOM_is_in15 karma

What's up dude!!

Thanks for doing an AMA.

What is the bloodiest confrontation you've had to separate on the springer show??

How much of the Springer show is scripted and how many stories are actually real?

RealSteveWilkos42 karma

Um - I don't remember blood so much as I do remember hair. The girls would pull each other's hair out.

So what we did was - I started this like ball of hair. So all the hair I would pick up off stage and roll it into a ball. It probably got the size of two bowling balls.

It was just like a thing - it was black, white, red hair and I just started pulling it together. You know people who do balls of twine. I do balls of hair.

When I was on, it was always real. Sometimes it's exaggerated, but the stories were real. I haven't been on in 9 years though, so I can only say from when I was on the show.

TheFuckingEagles13 karma

As a former Chicago Police Department officer, how do you feel about the current state of the CPD? If you were appointed the new CPD Superintendent, what would be some of the first improvements you'd make?

RealSteveWilkos30 karma

You know - it's a no win situation when you become in that position. Because you know things happen as a policemen - somethings they make mistakes and the Superintendent ends up being a fall guy.

I think McCarthy who came from New York to Chicago - I thought he did a great job. But ya know, something happened and he got blamed for it.

It's a job I certainly wouldn't want - I loved being a policeman but I wouldn't do it again.

SaltySeaDodger9 karma

Have you ever received any death threats as a result of Jerry Springer? Did you take it seriously?

RealSteveWilkos26 karma

I only received death threats once I got my own show!

lula24888 karma

If you could tell your 15 year old self one thing what would it be?

RealSteveWilkos23 karma

Uh - Don't drink.


Who is the craziest guest you've ever had to deal with?

RealSteveWilkos33 karma


I was gonna say the woman that hit me with the bowl, but...

Back in the day, I wouldn't say craziest gust but the craziest show, we had the KKK. We would do KKK stuff - it was crazy because not only because we had to worry about fights on stage, but because people in the audience would want to fight the guests. One show people in the audience started throwing chairs and stuff on the stage. It was nuts.

hdbrat8 karma

Have you ever had a stalker or someone try to confront you outside the show?

RealSteveWilkos12 karma

I've had stalkers, but I've never had anybody confront me.

gunsforthehomeless8 karma

What's your favorite pair of shoes you own?

RealSteveWilkos22 karma


gunsforthehomeless8 karma

You gots class and style.

RealSteveWilkos17 karma

Why, thank you!

BlondeSky8 karma

Have you ever had a story you couldn't air?

RealSteveWilkos17 karma

Uhhh - I'm sure it has happened but it's too expensive to do a show and not air it. It might have happened once or twice in the 9 years we've done the show. It's usually because of legal matter or because I thought the show was fake.

thelivingskies7 karma

Do you go to the gym? How often do you work out?

RealSteveWilkos20 karma

I have a gym in my house, and I work out probably 6 days a week.

thelivingskies6 karma

Nice! Do you know martial arts?

RealSteveWilkos19 karma

I studied Shaolim and Kung Fu for a while.

Thepeasantsmuff696 karma

what were the creepiest people that you ever had on your time at jerry springer and your own show?

RealSteveWilkos24 karma


I mean, you know.

The very first show we did was a guy that had a pedophile site. And he kind of like argued that being a pedophile was the most natural thing in the world. He probably was the most creepy guy.

thelivingskies6 karma

How often do you travel? What's your favorite holiday spot?

RealSteveWilkos11 karma

Cayman Islands - I mean I travel all the time. But my favorite travel destination is the Cayman Islands. We just got back - every year, day after Christmas, we go down there. Best place in the world.

StringOfLights6 karma

What would surprise people most about your experiences on your show?

RealSteveWilkos17 karma

My whole life was changed because of the show. I met my wife, I had my kids - my career. I live in Connecticut now, all because of a TV show!

chrisalmighty6 karma


I remember hearing your interview on Stern and you were great. I didn't realize how much of a ladies man you were.

Honestly, how much action were you getting before you got married?

RealSteveWilkos22 karma

A lot.

I've always gotten a lot though, had nothing to do with TV. I mean, look at me!

chrisalmighty12 karma

You're my hero, Steve.

RealSteveWilkos6 karma

Thank you!

HollyHobbLe6 karma

Have you ever maintained a friendship with any of your guests after the show? What was the hardest episode you had to do that was difficult to walk away from?

RealSteveWilkos20 karma

I've never maintained a friendship with anybody that appears on the show - I have not really talked to them after the show.

After the show is over, I don't really think about it. Once it's over I got home and hang out with my wife - she's my Executive Producer and we don't talk about it at home. Once it's over, I walk away from it. It's my job, I don't think about it once it's done.

FrozenbagofMicrowave6 karma

Why is the Oculus Rift priced so damn high?

RealSteveWilkos19 karma

I don't have any idea what that even is, nor do I care!

soulexpectation6 karma

What stands out as a significant accomplishment from your time on Jerry Springer as well your own show?

RealSteveWilkos12 karma

Well, probably being nominated for 3 Prism awards. Ya know, I was on Jerry's show for years and we never got nominated for anything. The fact that we got nominated for the Prism award, which is about doing shows about people addicted to drugs and stuff - it's probably the thing I'm most proud of.

Boozeman785 karma

I have no idea if the info is out there: How tall / big are you? You seem to be a rather imposing presence

RealSteveWilkos12 karma

6' 3". 224 lbs.

ron_mexicoo5 karma

What would you say to someone who feels your show is exploitative of abuse victims and offers nothing beyond cheap entertainment?

RealSteveWilkos31 karma

Well - we don't exploit anybody. Everybody that comes on the show wants to come on the show. We do help people. We've got people off drugs, and put them in jail. So if that's exploitative, than exploitative if shall be.

I've been nominated 3 times for Prism awards for raising awareness of substance abuse and other issues.

From me personally: GFY

lulaalt5 karma

What is your most useless talent?

RealSteveWilkos17 karma

Useless talent?

Riding my son's hoverboard! I can do that, but not very good.

hdbrat4 karma

Do you have anything you do before every show?

RealSteveWilkos13 karma

No - I mean, I come in, I eat, I drink tea. And I just go out. There's no special preparation I do.

I don't even know the stories beforehand. I kind of go into them like a cop on the scene, I'm just finding out for the first time.

jodie_pink4 karma

Hi Steve! My dad is a retired police officer and he really misses the job. What made you decide to leave your job and become a talk show host and do you miss it?

RealSteveWilkos12 karma

I left the job because they gave me a TV show. And no - I don't miss it.

Nobody calls the police to say "Hey wanna come over for a barbecue?" They call the police because the are distressed. Not a lot people like the police, but I love the police. Just as a point of fact.

bobsacchamano4 karma

What has been your go to response to people who have said over the years that The Jerry Springer Show is mostly staged?

RealSteveWilkos15 karma


maaron33 karma

Where do you get your security guards from?

RealSteveWilkos9 karma

Uh - most of them are. Well Mike McDermott - he's still an active policeman. We were partners together in Chicago, he runs my security. The rest of the guys are retired either New York or Connecticut policeman.

sulfurous3 karma

I've seen your show many times, and I remember seeing many episodes involving alleged pedophiles/child molesters/sexual assaulters, and other types of alleged criminals. Has your show ever resulted in a criminal case against a guest, for their alleged crime?

RealSteveWilkos9 karma

Yes! If you Google it, you'll see many cases of it.

Boozeman783 karma

Hi, love your show, although being in Italy I get to see it only via youtube. Do you still have a relationship with Jerry? How accurate are the lie detector tests?

RealSteveWilkos11 karma

Jerry's my friend - I've known him for 21 years now. We're very close - he'll be my friend for the rest of my life.

The lie detector tests are like 99% accurate.

bitchpantsok3 karma

Hello Steve. I am a big fan of your show and watch from the UK! Do you find it hard to keep calm when you have a child molester on your stage? And if so how do you separate your life at home with the stories of molestation and abuse that you do on your show? You do an amazing job! Thank you :)

RealSteveWilkos7 karma

Well, I don't keep calm! If you watch the show, I explode, but I think that's why people like the show.

But at home - when I walk out of the studio, I don't think about the show. I'm fortunate to have a very good marriage and great kids, so when I'm at home I have a great time. I don't think about the show.

Stopgrabbingmenuts3 karma

Whenever I watch the show I sometimes feel like I have to take a shower afterwards? Do you ever get that way while working day to day?

RealSteveWilkos6 karma

I took a shower after every show!

Some days I take two showers.

philckd3 karma

What made you decide to move the show from Chicago to Stamford? Where did the throwing chairs come to play when you started your show?

RealSteveWilkos5 karma

It wasn't my decision to move from Chicago to Stamford - it was NBC's. They were trying to cut production down for all 3 shows - Maury, Jerry and myself. They put us all in one studio, which cut the costs down significantly.

The chairs - it's kind of an urban legend. Oh you're gonna throw chairs?? I've done like 1500 shows, and I've thrown 43 shows. I can't tell you the last time I've thrown a chair.

Boozeman783 karma

Another question: What story of a guest touched you the most? Many are very very sad.

RealSteveWilkos7 karma

Yea, I mean. Anything that involves abuse of a child touches me because I have children. Any show that deals with that - it effects me because I think of my own children.

tgmsmith2 karma

When was the last time you were truly intimidated?

RealSteveWilkos20 karma

Every time I see my father.

CoolMax22 karma

What's your best advice for time management?

RealSteveWilkos13 karma

Don't waste time!

Get off Facebook and social media. People live their lives on Facebook, Facebook, Facebook. It's destroyed more marriages - people are looking up old girlfriends or whatever. Get off Facebook. Don't live your life through the computer or TV.

Read a book!

cireluce1 karma

Hi Steve I'm a huge fan! You've mentioned your cameo role on The Simpsons was the highlight of your career, have you thought about expanding your horizons and perusing anything further in acting?

RealSteveWilkos5 karma

No, because I did AUSTIN POWERS 2 and making movies is tedious and long and boring and I have no interest in it at all.

Panzerforce1 karma

Got any big, exciting plans for the future?

RealSteveWilkos7 karma