Akbar Gbajabiamila named new co-host of ‘The Talk’Cydney Henderson | USA Todayon September 2, 2021 at 8:21 pm

The revolving door of co-hosts at “The Talk” continues to turn.

Just days after the show announced the departure of Elaine Welteroth, it is welcoming a new host, Akbar Gbajabiamila.

The TV host and former NFL player will be replacing Welteroth on Season 12 of the CBS daytime talk show (premiering Sept. 13), alongside co-hosts Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots and Jerry O’Connell.

“It is an absolute honor to be joining THE TALK as a host!” Gbajabiamila said in a statement obtained by USA TODAY. “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.”

Executive producer and showrunner Heather Gray added the show is “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.”

Along with joining “The Talk,” Gbajabiamila is currently the host of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior” and “American Ninja Warrior Junior,” and previously played five years in the NFL with the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Miami Dolphins, before retiring in 2008.

On Tuesday, the show confirmed Welteroth was exiting “The Talk” after less than a year. Two weeks earlier, Carrie Ann Inaba announced her departure.

“It is an absolute honor for anyone, but especially a young Black woman, to occupy space on-air where our perspectives are largely underrepresented,” Welteroth, 34, said at the time in a statement obtained by USA TODAY.

She continued: “I’m proud of how I represented myself and my community. But as I always say: when the music changes, so must your dance! I will miss my talented co-hosts and crew and I wish them the very best. Thanks to all those who tuned in every day.”

The “More Than Enough” author and former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue joined the show in January as Eve’s replacement. Welteroth is also a judge on Bravo’s “Project Runway.”

O’Connell joined “The Talk” in July as its first permanent male co-host to replace Sharon Osbourne, who left the show in March following a controversial on-air exchange about race with Underwood. Kloots joined the show in January, replacing Marie Osmond. Underwood, the longest tenured co-host, joined the show’s second season in 2011.

In a joint statement, Gray and Matthews said they are “grateful” for Welteroth’s contributions.

“We wish Elaine all the best,” the executive producers said. “We are grateful for her passion, enthusiasm, and insight she brought to the show daily. Her openness and meaningful conversations were attributes we admired and always appreciated.”

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