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‘The Talk’ gets second male co-host with hiring of Akbar Gbajabiamila

A man in a dark suit adjusts his glasses
Akbar Gbajabiamila is joining CBS’ “The Talk” as a permanent host Sept. 13.
(Chris Pizzello / Invision / Associated Press)

Another man will be joining “The Talk” this season: Former NFL player and “America Ninja Warrior” host Akbar Gbajabiamila is the latest addition to the once female-dominated panel after departures from the talk show piled up this year.

The news comes just days after journalist Elaine Welteroth said her goodbyes after less than a year as a panelist and about a week after Carrie Ann Inaba announced her exit after an extended leave related to her health. Earlier this year, original co-host Sharon Osbourne was fired after an intense exchange about race related to the feud between Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and journalist Piers Morgan. The longtime panelist was replaced by actor Jerry O’Connell in July.

Gbajabiamila was a guest co-host a few times over the summer. He’ll officially join the Season 12 panel, which includes Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots and O’Connell, on Sept. 13, the network said Thursday. That makes him the second male co-host to have a permanent seat at the table. (This week, ABC’s rival talk show “The View” announced a slew of guest co-hosts who will temporarily fill Meghan McCain’s recently vacated seat until a permanent replacement is chosen.)

“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,’” Gbajabiamila said in a statement. “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.”

After a hiatus and investigation, “The Talk” returned Monday with Sheryl Underwood and her co-hosts opening up about Sharon Osbourne’s behavior.

That’s about as close as he got to addressing the show’s tumultuous, headline-making arrivals and departures. Showrunners hailed Gbajabiamila’s hiring as “a new day in daytime” and praised his “engaging personality, openness and quick wit” as well as his candor, humor and relatability as a husband and father of four.

Gbajabiamila grew up in L.A.'s Crenshaw neighborhood with parents who were born and raised in Nigeria. He was a linebacker and defensive end for the NFL’s Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins before retiring in 2008. He hosts NBC’s competition series “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” published “Everyone Can Be a Ninja: Find Your Inner Warrior and Achieve Your Dreams” in 2019 and served as an executive producer on the 2020 Amazon Original movie “Sylvie’s Love,” starring Tessa Thompson.


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