Station clearances for NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution’s upcoming talk show strip featuring “Jerry Springer” personality Steve Wilkos have now topped 85 percent of the country with the addition of the key markets of Boston, Atlanta and Phoenix.
In addition to the previously announced sale of the fall 2007 series to the Tribune station group, the Wilkos series has been sold to stations owned by some of the nation’s leading broadcast groups, including Sinclair, Hearst-Argyle, Fox, Gannett and Sunbeam. Recently added stations include WLVI-TV in Boston, WATL-TV in Atlanta, KUTP-TV in Phoenix, WFTC-TV in Minneapolis, WKCF-TV in Orlando, Fla., and KCWE-TV in Kansas City, Mo.
“Steve has been on television for more than a decade, which has made him extremely recognizable and already a proven success with the daytime audience,” said Barry Wallach, president of NBC Universal Domestic Television Distribution. “Local broadcasters are excited to add Steve’s show in the fall, as it will be a perfect complement to their current lineups.”
As word of the series permeates the country, the show — the title for which still hasn’t been determined — has turned host Mr. Wilkos from cult favorite into a bona fide television star.
“I never thought I would be on TV,” said Mr. Wilkos, who will end his 14-year run as director of security on “Springer” to host the show. “When my popularity evolved from ‘Springer,’ people called in the show asking for me to help them, and that’s how this project evolved. So far everybody has been great with me and very positive. This is a show where we’re standing up to the bad guy and helping people. I’m like the guy next door that everybody knows, and so far everybody is cheering for me to succeed.”
Mr. Wilkos’ show will be taped in front of a live studio audience at WMAQ-TV in Chicago, home of “The Jerry Springer Show.”
Richard Dominick, who is also executive producer of “The Jerry Springer Show” and the upcoming “The Springer Hustle” on VH1, will serve as executive producer of the strip.
“Most shows when they launch still have to figure out the chemistry between the host, the audience and the executive producer,” said Mr. Wilkos. “I’m fortunate enough to have been working with Richard for a long time now, and we know exactly what we need to do.”
A native of Chicago, Mr. Wilkos served as a member of the U.S. Marine Corps as well as the Chicago Police Department. For nearly 12 years, he split his time between being a law enforcement officer and working during his off hours on “Springer.” He subsequently retired from the Chicago police force in 2002 in order to devote himself to television full-time.