Christina Milian to Star in New Installment of Starz’s Drama Series “Step Up” in Role Originated by Naya Rivera

Christina Milian is stepping in and stepping up

The 39-year-old Cuban American Grammy-nominated singer and actress has been cast in the lead role originated by the late Naya Rivera in the new installment of Starz’s Step Up drama series.

Christina Milian

Milian will portray Collette in the series, which hails from creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen, Starz and Lionsgate Television.

The series began filming in Atlanta this month. Starz will air the first two seasons of the series, which originally aired on YouTube with Rivera as Collette, beginning on Friday, March 5 across all platforms.

In addition to Milian, Ne-Yo returns in his co-starring role as Sage Odom, along with returning series regulars Faizon Love (Uncle Al), Jade Chynoweth (Odalie), Carlito Olivero (Davis), Terrence Green (Rigo), Eric Graise (King), and Kendra Oyesanya (Poppy) and previously announced Tricia Helfer (Erin) who joins the cast in a series regular role.

“I am so excited to join the Step Up family,” said Milian. “I know I have massive shoes to fill. Naya was incredible. I hope to honor Naya, her family, friends and fans with a great performance.”

Starz had announced a new season of Step Up a little over a month after Rivera lost her life in Lake Piru. She had gone missing on July 8, 2020, while swimming with her son at the Ventura County, CA lake. Her body was discovered five days later. She was 33.

The decision was made to recast her role along with the support of the cast, producers and Naya’s family, after careful consideration of several factors, including the highly serialized nature of the show and the fact that Naya’s character is so central to the storytelling, according to Starz.

“Naya’s death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning,” added creator and executive producer Sorensen. “It was almost impossible to consider there could be someone so graceful and loving who could both help us honor our loss, while also bringing a deep reservoir of talent to our show, in so many areas. Christina is an exceptional human and a dazzling performer and we are so happy she has joined our family.”

Inspired by the Step Up Lionsgate film franchise that grossed over $600 million at the worldwide box office, the original series centers on Sage Odom (Ne-Yo) as the legendary founder of Atlanta’s famed High Water Performing Art School. Collette is the Queen of High Water and Sage Odom’s partner in art, business, and love. Collette built and nurtured Sage’s visionary academy from the ground up. Grinding her way to the top with grit and resourcefulness, Collette earned a new role, manager of Sage Odom and his tour, all this while hiding a dark secret. As this secret comes crashing down on Sage, High Water, and the tour, Collette is tempted by an opportunity to step out of her role as the woman behind the man, to become the powerful woman in front of the man.

“There is no replacing Naya. Let’s get that straight. Her spirit lives on in our memories and every part of what this show is and will be,” said Ne-Yo. “Christina has big shoes to fill and she knows it, which speaks to her poise and respect as a person and an artist. I’m more than certain of her ability to bring an energy and light to this character that Naya’s fans as well as the rest of the world will love. We’ve welcomed Christina with absolute open arms and have rallied around her with love and support. I’m excited and can’t wait for the world to see this!”

The series is inspired by the Lionsgate franchise spanning five films: Step Up, Step Up 2: The Streets, Step Up: 3D, Step Up: Revolution and Step Up: All In. The film series also inspired the live music and dance show Step Up Dubai, All In! at Motiongate Dubai theme park.

The new Step Up series will air on Starz in the U.S. and Canada and on its international streaming platform Starzplay across Europe, Latin America and Japan.

Shakira Tops Google’s List of Most Searched Musicians/Bands in 2020

Shakira is this year’s web search siren…

Google has unveiled the top trending searches of 2020, continuing its annual reflection on some of the year’s most searchable moments, with the 43-year-old Colombian superstar topping the artists’ chart.

Shakira x Girl Like Me

Shakira, who earned a lot of online attention for co-headlining this year’s Super Bowl Halftime Show with Jennifer Lopez, comes in at No. 1 on the Musicians and Bands list.

On the overall People chart, the “Hips Don’t Lie” singer comes in at No. 7, behind the likes of Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and Tom Hanks, among others.

Shakira is the only Latinx artist on the People chart, as well as the Musicians and Bands list.

Meanwhile, the late Naya Rivera comes in at No. 2 on the Loss chart.

The former Glee star drowned in California’s Lake Piru while on an excursion with her son in July.

Here’s a look at Google’s list toppers:

News
Election results
Coronavirus
Stimulus checks
Unemployment
Iran
Hurricane Laura
Super Tuesday
Stock market
Murder hornet
Australia fires

People
Joe Biden
Kim Jong Un
Kamala Harris
Jacob Blake
Ryan Newman
Tom Hanks
Shakira
Tom Brady
Kanye West
Vanessa Bryant 

Loss
Kobe Bryant
Naya Rivera
Chadwick Boseman
George Floyd
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Eddie Van Halen
King Von
Kelly Preston
Pop Smoke
Ahmaud Arbery 

Actors
Tom Hanks
Chris D’Elia
Jada Pinkett Smith
Timothée Chalamet
Ricky Gervais
Amber Heard
Joaquin Phoenix
Danny Masterson
Ryan Dorsey
Lea Michele 

Movies
Parasite
1917
Black Panther
Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey
Little Women
Just Mercy
Bad Boys 3
Sonic the Hedgehog
Contagion
Fantasy Island 

Movies: Action
1917
Black Panther
Birds of  Prey
Bad Boys 3
Sonic the Hedgehog
Mulan
The Old Guard
Artemis Fowl
Bloodshot
Extraction 

Movies: Drama
Little Women
Just Mercy
Tenet
365 Days
Jojo Rabbit
The Photograph
Enola Holmes
The Gentlemen
The Hunt
After we Collided 

Movies: Thriller
Contagion
Fantasy Island
Underwater
The Grudge
The Invisible Man
The Turning
The Devil All The Time
Antebellum
Gretel & Hansel
Knock Knock 

Movies: Comedy
Hubie Halloween
Like a Boss
Onward
Trolls World Tour
Borat 2
Spies in Disguise
The Wrong Missy
Dolittle
King of Staten Island
Downhill 

Musicians and Bands
Shakira
August Alsina
Adele
Doja Cat
Grimes
Van Halen
Lizzo
Tamar Braxton
Quando Rondo
Tory Lanez

TV Shows
Tiger King
Cobra Kai
Ozark
The Umbrella Academy
The Queen’s Gambit
Little Fires Everywhere
Outer Banks
Ratched
All American
The Last Dance

Naya Rivera Among The Celebrities Featured in Chris Barker’s Annual Beatles-Style Tribute to 2020’s Biggest Losses

Naya Rivera is getting a special tribute…

British artist Chris Barker‘s annual Beatles-style tribute to lost celebrities features some of 2020’s biggest losses, including the late half-Puerto Rican actress/singer and Glee star, who drowned in July while on an outing with her son on California’s Lake Piru, as well as soccer legend Diego Maradona, Little Richard, Chadwick Boseman and Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

Naya Rivera

Barker, who has been meticulously crafting his homage to the infamous cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band since 2016 as a tribute to dearly departed pop culture icons and newsmakers — said his initial idea was to start with a blank slate in January and just add faces as the year went on.

The approach would’ve simply meant swapping out some images for more prominent ones as the year went on for a more “interactive” art project. But as this year just kept getting worse, he was glad he didn’t switch up his style.

Chris Barker's 2020 Sgt. Peppers Tribute

“Early spring I thought the devastating wildfires in Australia would be the defining moment of the year but, goodness me, 2020 just kept piling it on,” he tells Billboard. “So I had a couple of options of how to show this year was a year like no other. My immediate thought was social distancing; to have the characters all really spread out. But that would have proved really impractical.”

Instead, he stuck to the template of cramming as many singers, actors, athletes, public figures and news events as possible into the image, which this year includes everyone from police violence victim George Floyd to actors Kirk Douglas, Dave Prowse (Star WarsDarth Vader), Sean Connery, Diana Rigg, Monty Python‘s Terry Jones, Fred Willard and Jerry Stiller, as well as musical icons Florian Schneider (Kraftwerk), Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), Kenny Rogers, Adam Schlesinger (Fountains of Wayne), reggae great Toots Hibbert, Neil Peart (Rush), Ronald Bell (Kool & the Gang), DJ José Padilla, Bonnie Pointer (Pointer Sisters) and Afrobeat star Tony Allen, among many others.

Barker’s next idea was to include a nod to how important masks were this year during the pandemic, but that would have made the concept way too complicated to pull off. After starting work a month earlier than usual (in September), he realized masking the figures would make many of them unrecognizable, and posting it around the American election as he usually does would likely leave too many important figures off in a year when the devastating hits just kept on coming.

“Who knew what else could be just around the corner? It has been such an awful, bleak year,” he said, revealing that his original background was a red sky with burning forests in a nod to the devastating Australian and American wildfires. But with Joe Biden‘s victory over one-term President Donald Trump last month and talk of a COVID-19 vaccine right around the corner, suddenly there was a glimmer of hope. And instead of sticking the Biden/Harris logo “in the middle of a burning hellscape,” the Trump campaign gave him an unexpected gift with lawyer Rudy Giuliani‘s legendarily disastrous presser at Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

“The surreal backdrop perfectly encapsulates the final nail in the coffin of the nightmarish Trump administration that inspired this whole project,” Barker said. “When I first did the 2016 montage, the loss of such an overwhelming number of iconic heroes was undoubtedly one of the defining stories of the year — even overshadowing Brexit and Trump. But this year, obviously the huge number of deaths from coronavirus is far more significant.”

With the real human cost of losses from COVID-19 piling up every day, Barker decided that the chalky floor of the Four Seasons parking lot was the perfect backdrop for an homage that also includes the losses of nearly 1.5 million worldwide to COVID, Trump’s presidency, Spencer Davis, Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, drag queen Chi Chi DeVayne, directors Alan Parker and Joel Schumacher, magician Roy Horn, Glee‘s Rivera, Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, Vera Lynn, Kelly Preston, and Gone With the Wind star Olivia de Havilland.

“Every line a reminder of a life taken, a family ripped apart. Every time I do this montage it is an emotional journey, however detached I may get from the subject matter while I’m in the thick of the Photoshop, when I put the list together for the key at the end and look at it, it is a quite sobering moment,” he said. “I know a lot of people who have lost family members this year and I always try to remember that all the people I am including have left people behind too. I have to try to be respectful to everyone and to pay tribute to them and the way they lived their lives.”

There are always a few losses that hit Barker the hardest, and this year for him it was Kraftwerk’s Schneider, Game of Thrones star Rigg and Python’s Jones.

All he asks is that if you are moved by his work, donate to the UK’s NHS charities this year.

Naya Rivera Makes One of Her Final Appearances on New Season of Netflix’s “Sugar Rush,” Out Now

It’s a sweet rush for the late Naya Rivera.

In what’s believed to be her final television appearance, the late half-Puerto Rican actress/singer and Glee star will be featured in an episode of Season 3 of Netflix’s baking competition reality series Sugar Rush, released this Friday.

Naya Rivera

Back in February, Rivera filmed a guest-judge appearance on Sugar Rush in Los Angeles, sitting alongside the show’s host Hunter March and professional chef judges Candace Nelson and Adriano Zumbo.

It was the last thing she filmed before the coronavirus-related Hollywood production shutdown, which is now in its fifth month.

Netflix on June 24 announced a July 31 premiere date for the new season of Sugar Rush, branded Extra Sweet.

Sugar Rush: Naya Rivera

A couple of weeks later, Rivera disappeared while swimming with her son in Lake Piru, north of Los Angeles. Her body was recovered July 13 and laid to rest July 24. She was 33.

Following Rivera’s death, Netflix was faced with the dilemma of what to do with the footage of her. After careful consideration in consultation with Rivera’s manager Gladys Gonzalez, who has been working closely with the actress’ family following Rivera’s death, a decision was made to move forward and release the episode as planned.

The episode is dedicated to Rivera, with an on-screen note honoring the actress appearing before the opening credits.

Sugar Rush is produced by Magical Elves.

Naya Rivera’s Final Heroic Act Revealed

Naya Rivera is being hailed as a hero…

The late part-Puerto Rican actress and Glee star used the last of her strength to save her 4-year-old son before she died, Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub said Monday.

Naya Rivera

“She mustered enough energy to get her son back onto the boat, but not enough to save herself,” he said.

A body discovered Monday morning at Lake Piru has been identified as the Rivera, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said during a news conference.

Riveraand her son rented a pontoon boat at Lake Piru Wednesday. The child told rescuers he and his mother had gone into the water to swim, but she didn’t get back on the boat. He told investigators he then looked back and saw her disappear under the surface of the water, Ayub said.

Her son was found asleep on the rental pontoon boat after it was overdue for return. One life jacket was found on the boat and the boy was wearing another.

Rivera, who was 33 at the time of her passing, was presumed dead after she went missing Wednesday.

Her body was found floating in the northeast area of the lake where the water is between 35 and 60 feet deep Monday, after a six-day search. Ayub said investigators are “confident” the body found was Rivera, but the body is still being taken to Ventura County Coroner’s Office, where it will be identified through dental records.

Ayub said the sheriff’s department has been “in direct contact” with Rivera’s family.

“Her family has been at the lake everyday holding out hope and communicating with our investigators,” Ayub said.

The actress is best known for her role as Santana Lopez on Fox’s musical dramedy Glee. She appeared in nearly every episode of the beloved musical-comedy-drama, which ended in 2015.

Members of the show’s cast took to social media to mourn their costar, sharing their condolences to Rivera’s family.

“How can you convey all your love and respect for someone in one post?” Chris Colfer, who played Kurt on Glee, wrote on his Instagramin a lengthy, emotional caption of a picture of him and Rivera. “How can you summarize a decade of friendship and laughter with words alone? If you were friends with Naya Rivera, you simply can’t.”

“Rest sweet, Naya,” Jane Lynch, who played Coach Sue Sylvester on the show, tweeted. “What a force you were. Love and peace to your family.

Rivera was also on the CBS sitcom The Royal Family and in the comedy film The Master of Disguise. More recently, she starred in the Step Up television series, based on the movie franchise.

Starz Revives Naya Rivera’s “Step Up” Dance Series

Naya Rivera’s steppin’ her way to Starz

Starz is bringing back to life the 33-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress and former Glee star’s dance series Step Up after its cancellation by YouTube last year.

Naya Rivera

The premium cable network has ordered a 10-episode new season of the series from creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen and Lionsgate Television

The series will feature popular characters from previous seasons, while expanding the scope and storytelling as a Starz Original series.

“Holly and her team have created a new and dynamic iteration of the series that captures the hallmarks that have made the Step Upfranchise so successful and elevates the storytelling for the premium, global audience,” said Christina Davis, president, Original Programming for Starz. “This, coupled with the worldwide appeal of the multi-talented, multicultural cast, will make this series a great addition to our slate.”

Inspired by the Step UpLionsgate film franchise that grossed more than $600 million at the worldwide box office, the series centers on Sage Odom (Ne-Yo) as the legendary founder of Atlanta’s famed High Water Performing Arts School and Collette (Rivera), his partner in High Water and in life. 

The upcoming season will see Sage, Colette and their relationship challenged as they face criminal charges, financial ruin and powerful political enemies who want to destroy Sage and High Water.

Tricia Helfer joins the series this season as Erin, alongside Ne-Yo and Rivera and returning series regulars including Petrice Jones as Tal, Faizon Love as Uncle Al, Marcus Mitchell as Dondre, Jade Chynoweth as Odalie, Carlito Olivero as Davis, Terrence Green as Rigo, Eric Graise as King, and Kendra Oyesanya as Poppy.

“The latest installment of ‘Step Up’ not only reimagines the entire franchise but is filled with high energy, lots of heart and electrifying dance moves, and we’re very excited to reunite the talented cast and creative teams for another great season,” said Lionsgate Television group chairman Kevin Beggs. “This collaboration underscores our ability to work successfully across our businesses to supply premium content to Starz.”

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, who both co-starred in the original Step Upfilm, will executive produce through Tatum’s Free Association production company. 

The Lionsgate film franchise spanned five films: Step Up, Step Up 2: The StreetsStep Up: 3DStep Up: Revolution and Step Up: All InThe film series also inspired the live music and dance show Step Up Dubai, All In! at the Motiongate Dubai theme park. 

The first two seasons will be available exclusively on the Starz App and On Demand prior to the launch of the new season.

Naya Rivera’s YouTube Drama Series “Step Up: High Water” Surges in Viewership

Naya Riverais stepping up her game on the internet…

YouTube and Lionsgate’s hit dance drama series Step Up: High Water, starring the 32-year-old part-Puerto Rican actress and former Glee star, has surged in viewership for its Season 2 premiere. 

Naya Rivera

The first episode of the sophomore season has drawn 11.5 million views in the seven days since its March 20 debut, according to YouTube. Compared with the first episode of Season 1, which drew 1.3 million viewers through seven days following its January 31, 2018 debut, the Season 2 premiere is up 884% over the first season.

Based on the successful film franchise from Lionsgate, Step Up: High Water follows several students at a cut-throat performing arts school in Atlanta. 

Series regulars Rivera, NE-YO, and Faizon Loveare back for Season 2, along with newcomers Ashley GreeneRobin Givensand Jeremy Copeland.

Multi-platinum recording artist and entrepreneur Rick Rossis set to guest star as himself. Todrick Hallwill also make a cameo playing himself. JaQuel Knightwill choreograph episode three as well as make a cameo playing himself.

Step Up: High Water is created and executive produced by showrunner Holly Sorensen (Recovery Road, Make It Or Break It).Adam ShankmanJennifer Gibgotand Meredith Milton, all producers of the original Step Up films, executive produced season one, along with Channing Tatumand Jenna Dewan, who both co-starred in the original Step Up film. All have returned to executive produce for the second season.

Rivera Gives Birth to Her First Child

The stork has arrived at Naya Rivera’s home…

The 28-year-old part-Puerto Rican actress, who most recently appeared on Lifetime’s Devious Maids, and her husband, actor Ryan Dorsey, have welcomed a new baby boy.

Naya Rivera

E! News reports that Rivera gave birth to Josey Hollis Dorsey, the couple’s first child, on September 17 in Los Angeles.

The Glee actress first announced that she and Dorsey were expecting in April on her baby blog, which she has since used to document her pregnancy.

Dorsey and Rivera were married in 2014 during a private ceremony in Mexico, where they were joined by 12 guests.

Rivera Reveals She Has a “Bun in the Oven”

Naya Rivera is preparing for an important personal role…

The 28-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer and Glee star is expecting her first child with her actor husband Ryan Dorsey, she revealed Tuesday.

Naya Rivera

Rivera, who has landed a recurring role on Lifetime’s upcoming third season of Devious Maids, made the announcement with a special “Bun in the Oven” graphic on her Instagram account.

Naya Rivera Pregnancy Announcement

In a blog post titled “Surprise!” on her website, Rivera wrote:

“We’re having a baby! Ryan and I feel so blessed and can’t wait to welcome the newest member of our family.”

Rivera is currently appearing the sixth and final season of Glee on Fox.

Rivera Lands Recurring Role on Eva Longoria’s “Devious Maids” Sudser

Naya Rivera is downright devious

The 28-year-old half-Puerto Rican actress/singer has agreed to a recurring role on Marc Cherry’s Lifetime series Devious Maids.

Naya Rivera

Rivera will portray Blanca, a new maid in the neighborhood who has landed a job with the seemingly picture-perfect Beverly Hills family.  But she soon discovers a terrible secret–something that could change her life forever.

It’s Rivera’s first major acting commitment since wrapping the final season of Glee.

Additionally, Rivera, who is in talks for a book deal, has reportedly been asked back on ABC’s morning talk show The View and will do several more episodes as co-host this month. She previously did two appearances in November and two more last month, with virtually all producing soundbites that have gone viral, boosting The View’s social media presence.

There had been speculation that the producers of the embattled daytime talk show may have bigger plans for Rivera, and her return for more guest co-hosting is further in the fuel that.