Akbar Gbajabiamila is the latest co-host to join CBS' daytime show The Talk for season 12, CBS said Thursday. Gbajabiamila, who appeared as a guest host in June and July, joins Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots and Jerry O’Connell on the show, which premieres its new season on Monday, Sept. 13.
"It's a new day in daytime for season 12 of The Talk, and we are thrilled to welcome Akbar to the family. His engaging personality, openness and quick wit really impressed us when he appeared as a guest co-host last season," said Heather Gray, The Talk’s executive producer and showrunner in a statement.
Gbajabiamila and O'Connell are new members to the panel as Elaine Welteroth departed earlier this week. Also leaving in the past year have been Eve, Sharon Osbourne -- who departed after backing Piers Morgan when he made controversial statements regarding Meghan Markle after her primetime interview with Oprah Winfrey -- and most recently, Carrie Ann Inaba.
Gbajaiamila and O'Connell are the only two men who have been permanent members of the show's panel.
"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," said Gbajabiamila, also in a statement.
Former NFL player Gbajabiamila is the host of NBC's competition series American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior. He became a published author in 2019 with his critically acclaimed debut book, Everyone Can Be a Ninja: Find Your Inner Warrior and Achieve Your Dreams.
He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, four children and two dogs.
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Contributing editor Paige Albiniak has been covering the business of television for nearly 25 years. She is a longtime contributor to Next TV, Broadcasting + Cable and Multichannel News. She concurrently serves as editorial director for entertainment marketing association Promax. She has written for such publications as TVNewsCheck, The New York Post, Variety, CBS Watch and more. Albiniak was B+C’s Los Angeles bureau chief from September 2002 to 2004, and an associate editor covering Congress and lobbying for the magazine in Washington, D.C., from January 1997-September 2002.