AceShowbiz - "The Talk" has found its new co-host following Carrie Ann Inaba and Elaine Welteroth's departures. Former NFL player and host of "American Ninja Warrior" Akbar Gbajabiamila has been tapped to be the another male co-host on the show, joining Jerry O'Connell.
"I am so excited for this new generation of such a long-standing establishment," Akbar said in a statement. "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."
Meanwhile, Heather Gray, the show's executive producer and showrunner, added, "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."
"Akbar’s candor and humor come with ease and are great additions to the conversation," Kristin Matthews, executive producer and showrunner, continued. "Also, his relatability as a husband and father creates a special connection with the viewers that is invaluable."
Of his new role, Akbar told Entertainment Tonight on Thursday, September 2 that he was "kind of blown away" when he got the job offer. The former Oakland Raiders player added, "It was one of those life-changing things for me, because it's something I've been working hard [for]. When you get that realization, 'Oh, this is happening,' it's one of those things that's kind of an out-of-body experience."
He continued, "It reminds me of the time that I got the notification that I was going to be a Raider. It's that same feeling [of], 'Oh my goodness, it's happening!' "
Akbar was not the only one who was excited over the new gig as his family was as thrilled as him. "They say, 'Dad, you talk too much and this is great,' " he said of his kids. "Now I can honestly say I can justify me talking a lot and say, 'This is what Dad does for a living. I'm on The Talk. You see? I talk.' "
The 42-year-old shared that his long marriage would be a great help. "Being married for 12 years, I think it gives me a lot of comfort in knowing that I can honestly sit in a room of women and hear their opinions, hear their thoughts, hear their side of how they see something, and be able to be comfortable in my own skin to be able to give my perspective," he explained. "Because again, it all comes down to not a right or wrong thing... but it's being able to listen and being able to engage."
"I've been to 40 countries. I'm a father of four, played in the NFL, college graduate. There's so many things that I believe I bring to the table in being able to add to the national conversation. I've always been a person that wants to bring and promote conversation over confrontation. Especially now so much because people are so easily offended, and I think with a platform like The Talk, it allows me to bring that balance in a very diverse cast," he added.
He also promised to bring "a different side" of himself to the show. "My fans and people who know me, they'll see a different side. They'll see the side of me that I have insightful thoughts on how I see the world, how I see entertainment, all things sports. I'm doing it in a loving and funny way," he teased. "I think they'll appreciate this side of me. This is the platform for it for sure."