The Talk officially has a new host! Just days after the CBS talk show lost its second co-host in the span of just two weeks, CBS announced Thursday that Akbar Gbajabiamila will join current co-hosts Amanda Kloots, Sheryl Underwood, and Jerry O’Connell for the upcoming 12th season. Ahead of the announcement, The Talk had been moving into Season 12 with two less co-hosts following the resignations of Carrie Ann Inaba and Elaine Welteroth.
In announcing Gbajabiamila’s involvement in the new season, Heather Gray, executive producer and showrunner of The Talk, said in a statement, “a new day in daytime for season 12 of The Talk, and we are thrilled to welcome Akbar to the family.” She added Gbajabiamila impressed those working behind the scenes on the talk show with his “engaging personality, openness and quick wit” when he appeared as a guest host last season. Kristin Matthews, executive producer and showrunner, said Gbajabiamila’s “candor and humor come with ease and are great additions to the conversation. Also, his relatability as a husband and father creates a special connection with the viewers that is invaluable.”
JUST ANNOUNCED! @TheTalkCBS welcomes @akbar_gbaja as new host joining @sherylunderwood, @amandakloots & @mrjerryoc beginning Mon. Sept. 13 for season 12! #thetalk https://t.co/EnFVdWa2xE pic.twitter.com/PLGkZCPpFr
— CBS Tweet (@CBSTweet) September 2, 2021
Gbajabiamila is best known as the host of NBC’s hit competition series American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior. He also executive produced the 2020 award winning film Sylvie’s Love and is a published author as well as a professional athlete, having played five years in the NFL as a linebacker and defensive end, with the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins, before retiring in 2008. Gbajabiamila is now eager to add another credit to his resume.
“It is an absolute honor to be joining The Talk as a host! I am so excited for this new generation of such a long-standing establishment,” Gbajabiamila said. “To be a part of this diverse group is truly a dream and a new statement for The Talk. In a world as divided as ours, I look forward to showing up as my fun and authentic self every day and advocating for conversation over confrontation.”
Gbajabiamila will be joining the talk show following the departures of Welteroth and Inaba. Inaba’s late August exit came after she announced a leave of absence in April to focus on her health. Their exits likewise followed the departure of Sharon Osbourne, who exited the series amid the scandal surrounding her support of Piers Morgan and the heated on-air discussion she had with Underwood. O’Connell was later announced to be taking her spot at the discussion table.