CBS’ The Talk has tapped Akbar Gbajabiamila as a new permanent co-host for Season 12 of the daytime talk show. Former NFL player Gbajabiamila, who currently hosts NBC’s American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior, joins fellow co-hosts Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots and Jerry O’Connell on the new season which premieres Monday, September 13. Gbajabiamila appeared as a guest co-host on multiple episodes in June and July.
“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, executive producer and showrunner of The Talk.
“Akbar’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,” added Kristin Matthews, executive producer and showrunner.
Gbajabiamila’s hire follows the recent exits of Carrie Ann Inaba and Elaine Welteroth. As we previously reported, it was the show’s hope to have at least one new permanent co-host — expected to be a person of color — in place when The Talk premieres its new season on Sept. 13. O’Connell was named the show’s first permanent male co-host in July, replacing Sharon Osbourne who was fired in March.
“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. 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 everyday and advocating for conversation over confrontation,” said Gbajabiamila.
Currently, 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 also executive produced the 2020 award winning film, Sylvie‘s Love. As a professional athlete, Gbajabiamila 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.
While playing for the Chargers, Gbajabiamila contributed to KSWB, an NBC radio affiliate in San Diego, and co-hosted Football Night in San Diego from 2007-08. He went on to serve as an analyst for the Mountain Network and CBS Sports before joining the NFL Network in 2012.
Gbajabiamila has a long history of volunteering and social consciousness and currently serves as a board member for the Asomugha Foundation, an organization aimed at creating better educational opportunities for impoverished communities. Also, he founded Rush The Passer, a year-round athletic, academic and life skills program for youth in Southern California. Gbajabiamila also serves on the board of the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
The Talk airs weekdays (2:00-3:00 PM, ET; 1:00-2:00 PM, PT/CT) on CBS and streams on Paramount+.