THE Talk has chosen Akbar Gbajabiamila as its newest co-host for the upcoming season of the talk show after Elaine Welteroth exited.
Season 12 will feature the former NFL player alongside Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots and Jerry O'Connell as The Talk hosts.
Akbar currently hosts NBC’s American Ninja Warrior and American Ninja Warrior Junior, and he's the author of the book Everyone Can Be A Ninja.
CBS shared the hiring news on social media, sharing a photo of the former athlete on The Talk’s Instagram, writing with it: “Welcome to The Talk family!”
They added in the caption: “We’ve got a new host in the house! 🎉
“We are SO excited to announce that @akbar_gbaja is joining The Talk family! #LetsChat”
The new addition commented on the post to say he’s “super excited to be apart of the family 🙌🏾”
Akbar went on to share the exciting news on his own page, telling fans it's an "absolute honor" to be joining the hosting panel.
He continued: "I am so excited for this new generation of such a hallmark establishment in daytime television.
"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.
"My prayer is that I will add value to the consciousness of our viewers and make this world a better place."
During the 42-year-old's professional football career, he played for the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers, and Miami Dolphins.
Earlier this week, Elaine, 34, announced she's leaving The Talk after just one season, following the previous departures of Sharon Osbourne and Carrie Ann Inaba.
The Sun can exclusively reveal Elaine was “embarrassed” by the show’s “low ratings” and “direction.”
An insider told The Sun: “She was hired to have deep, meaningful conversations that are important to women and especially women of color and they want meaningless fluff.
“Hiring a male to replace Sharon was offensive to Elaine.”
The Sun previously reported Jerry scored a $2million salary, though reps for CBS denied the figure.
The source continued of the pay day: “Being paid less than Jerry was offensive to Elaine. She was vocal about it.”
The insider previously told The Sun of the salary dispute: “Jerry’s salary is less than half of Sharon’s salary, but more than Sheryl. Amanda and Elaine are making mid six figures."
Elaine revealed her departure from the show over Instagram on Tuesday.
She captioned a series clips from the CBS talk show: "If you told Oprah-obsessed, 9-year-old me that she’d one day get the golden opportunity to be on daytime TV, she never would’ve believed you. It is an absolute honor for anyone, but especially a young Black woman, to occupy this space on-air where our perspectives are largely underrepresented.
“And tbh, if you told 33-year-old me ALL it would take to show up as her authentic self in front of a live national audience every day in a world as divided as ours, she probably would’ve been shook lol.
“I’m so glad I didn’t shy away from this divine assignment to learn, to grow, to laugh, to cry, to make new friends, to learn a ton, and most importantly, to stay true to myself and what I stand for every single day—even when it was uncomfortable.
“I joined @thetalkcbs because I was excited to break out of my own echo chamber and join a diverse cast in helping to bridge some of the divides in our world through conversation and empathy. While that work will never stop, as I always say: when the music changes, so must your dance!
She continued that she is “moving into a new chapter and won’t be back next season,” but will miss her “talented co-hosts and crew.”
The new season of The Talk premieres Monday, September 13.
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