(CBS Local)– Season 12 of “The Talk” premieres Monday on CBS and the daytime smash hit features some new faces. Actor Jerry O’Connell and former NFL player and television host Akbar Gbajabiamila join Amanda Kloots and Sheryl Underwood. This week, guests like actor & comedian Lil Rel Howery, musician Chris Daughtry, actor Idina Menzel, actor & comedian Cedric the Entertainer and legendary musician Gloria Estefan will be joining the crew.

CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith spoke with Kloots and Gbajabiamila about what fans can expect from the new season of “The Talk,” why their show stands out in the crowded daytime television space and what excites them the most about working with O’Connell and Underwood. “The Talk” airs weekdays from 2pm-3pm on CBS and streams live on Paramount+.

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“I’m excited about Rock The Block and how we are starting off season 12 of The Talk,” said Gbajabiamila. “Being able to have a seat at the table with Amanda, Sheryl and Jerry and being able to have this diverse voice and give a 360 point of view is going to be great. I think the other part of it is as a guest host last season, we didn’t have a live audience. To have a live audience now is going to feel good. I haven’t been in front of a big crowd like that in a while. It’s going to be good to have that and have that good feeling of being on the team. Today was special for me because I laid out my clothes like I was going back for the first day of school.”

“I’m just so proud of our team and proud of our crew and I’m proud that we have a season 12,” said Kloots. “It’s going to be a great season. I love that we have Jerry & Akbar on the show now. I think it’s so fresh and new and a great way to kick off a new season. I love that they are both dads and I think that gives such a unique perspective to a show that has previously been women and mothers. I think that alone for our audience is cool and special. Nobody else is doing this. If you haven’t watched The Talk before, you’re in for a real treat.”

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Both Kloots and Gbajabiamila have had interesting journeys en route to “The Talk.” Gbajabiamila, who is a husband and father of four, played in the NFL, hosted “American Ninja Warrior” and wrote a book. Meanwhile, Kloots is a mother, a former Broadway performer and an author as well. Kloots tragically lost her husband Nick Cordero to COVID-19 in 2020 and she is so thankful she’s had the opportunity to use “The Talk” to grieve and work out her feelings.

“This show has been a saving grace,” said Kloots. “I can’t say it enough. Just to have a home to go to everyday and to have a family to be a part of everyday and to be told to be somewhere everyday, when you are grieving you feel very lost and you feel very alone and it is such a rollercoaster ride. Just to have the normalcy of a work schedule and a crew and a cast of people that truly do have your back, it has meant the world to me.”

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“I keep it 100 and keep it real,” said Gbajabiamila. “I think transparency is key on daytime and just in anything in general in keeping it real and being authentic. For me, relationships are always big. That’s something I pride myself on in constantly trying to understand. I have been married for 12 years, I have four kids, a college kid at the University of Oregon, a 12-year-old and twins who are nine. There’s experience that comes with that, but there is also something to learn.”