Pearl Thusi is dumping the SABC's Live AMP on SABC1 with immediate effect to become the co-presenter together with D'Banj of the Viacom International's new African version of Lip Sync Battle that will be produced for MTV Base and e.tv.
Pearl Thusi's final appearance on SABC1's Live AMP which she co-hosted for the past 3 years will be tomorrow evening, 4 March, after which she will be focusing on the African and South African version of the show in which well-known personalities lip sing on other artists' well-known hits.
"We're pleased to have played a significant role in her growth within the SABC family," says Zandile Nkonyeni, SABC publicist, "and we wish her well in all her future projects".
"Working with Pearl has been an absolute pleasure, losing her on the show is sad but also we're extremely proud to have played a role in her growth within the entertainment industry," says Sjula Dlamini, Live AMP producer.
Lip Sync Battle will start on 14 April on MTV (DStv 130) at 20:30, on MTV Base (DStv 322) from Saturday 16 April at 11:30, and e.tv (DStv 194 / OVHD 104) in high definition from Saturday 23 April at 18:30.
Pearl Thusi will join Afrobeat singer D'Banj on Lip Sync Battle Africa and says she's "so excited to be a part of bringing it to African audiences".
D'Banj says he is "excited, willing and ready to entertain the continent" and that he's "looking forward to seeing how well my fellow celebrities battle each other and entertain the world".
TVwithThinus asked Lip Sync Battle Africa but executives declined to reveal any names of personalities who've agreed so far to appear on the show.
"We are thrilled to translate this global franchise to Africa for the first time," says Alex Okosi, the senior vice president and managing director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa).
"Lip Sync Battle Africa cannot fail to emulate the success of the franchise in the United States and spin-offs in territories such as the United Kingdom, Canada and Chile".
"Lip Sync Battle Africa is guaranteed to capture the attention and affection of our audience in Africa," says Dillon Khan, head of MTV and VH1 in Africa.
"The high-energy format of the show will be complimented by the two hosts who are massive stars of the entertainment industry on the African continent," says Keshni Rajoo, the head of local productions at e.tv. The free-to-air commercial broadcaster is doing Lip Sync Battle in conjunction with VIMN Africa.
"Our homegrown talent will be given the opportunity to show off their lip sync skills alongside some of the biggest names in Africa. e.tv is proud to be a partner of Lip Sync Battle Africa."
Lip Sync Battle Africa will be mainly South African and Nigerian artists, Dillon Khan tells TVwithThinus, "but we will have a sprinkling from East Africa too".
"Once the show is established, we'd look at involving more countries and artists in the second season".
Asked if songs will all be performed in English, or also include songs in other African languages, Dillon Khan says "our only stipulation is that one of the songs must be an African hit and one an international hit - there's no restriction in terms of language".
I asked what about the Lip Sync Battle format would be different for the localised version of Lip Sync Battle Africa, and Dillon Khan says its a "tried and trusted" format "and if it ain't broke, don't fix it!"
"Much of what you'll see will look a little familiar, albeit with a touch of African flavour. The set is inspired by the United States one. We will have 2 hosts, and 2 contestants singing 2 songs each. Our key differences are the use of African hosts and African contestants and the stipulation about one song being from Africa," says Dillon Khan.