Television host and former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila joins THE TALK for season 12 as new host of the Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show, with Sheryl Underwood, Amanda Kloots and Jerry O’Connell, premiering Monday, Sept. 13, 2021. 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.
“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 every day and advocating for conversation over confrontation,” said Akbar 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.
A Los Angeles native, Gbajabiamila grew up in the Crenshaw district with his parents, both of whom were born and raised in Nigeria, and six siblings. Gbajabiamila played football at San Diego State University and graduated with a degree in communications and new media studies. Later, he completed a certified entrepreneurship program at the Wharton School of Business in 2005.
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 2007-2008. 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.
Gbajabiamila resides in Los Angeles with his wife, four children and two dogs.
THE TALK airs weekdays (2:00-3:00 PM, ET; 1:00-2:00 PM, PT/CT) on the CBS Television Network and streams on Paramount+.