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Akbar Gbajabiamila Joins ‘The Talk’ as Co-Host for Season 12

”American Ninja Warrior“ host effectively replaces Elaine Welteroth

“The Talk” just achieved the 50/50 gender parity no one even knew it was going for: “American Ninja Warrior” personality Akbar Gbajabiamila is joining the CBS talk show as a permanent co-host for Season 12.

Gbajabiamila is essentially replacing Elaine Welteroth, who stepped down from the dais on Tuesday. (Or maybe he’s replacing Carrie Ann Inaba, who, following a lengthy hiatus, officially left “The Talk” earlier this month. Either way.)

In July, Jerry O’Connell effectively replaced Sharon Osbourne, a deal first reported by TheWrap. Gbajabiamila joins fellow (relative) newbie O’Connell on the program, as well as veterans Sheryl Underwood and Amanda Kloots.

Gbajabiamila, a former NFL linebacker, has guest co-hosted “The Talk” multiple times this summer. Season 12 premieres 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,” Heather Gray, one of the two showrunners of “The Talk,” said in a statement on Thursday. 

“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,” Kristin Matthews, the other showrunner, added.

“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 everyday and advocating for conversation over confrontation.”

“The Talk” airs weekdays from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET/1 p.m. to 2 p.m. CT and PT on CBS. It streams on Paramount+.