Enrique Murciano to Star in Starz’s Reimagined “Step Up” Series

Enrique Murciano is steppin’ up…

The 47-year-old Cuban American actor has been cast in the new installment of Starz’s re-imagined Step Up series.

Enrique Murciano

Murciano will serve as a series regular on the series, joining Christina Milian and Ne-Yo.

The series hails from creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen, Starz and Lionsgate Television. Starz will air the first two seasons of the series beginning on Friday, March 5 across all platforms.

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 (Milian 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.

Murciano plays “Cruz,” a man hoping to carve his face into the Mount Rushmore of high profile, celebrity lawyers and who will do whatever it takes to claw his way to the primetime status of Cochran, Dershowitz, and Geragos, finally joining the pantheon of litigation gods. The case that will get him there, Sage Odom’s murder accusation. As Cruz fights through the intrigue and conspiracy to save Sage’s life and career, he can’t help but think to the future, imagining himself sauntering down a red carpet like an urban cowboy in his sharply tailored Dries Van Noten.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, who both co-starred in the original Step Up film, will executive produce through Free Association production company and Everheart Productions, Inc., respectively..

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 InThe 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.

Murciano’s previous credits include Tell Me Your Secrets, Bloodline and Without a Trace.

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.

Miguel to Perform During ‘Black Power Live’ Digital Benefit

Miguel is bringing the Power

The 34-year-old half-Mexican American R&B singer and Grammy winner will perform during Black Power Live, a digital benefit taking place on Saturday, June 27th, on Twitch.

Miguel

The event will be hosted by Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Cullors and feature a mix of musical performances and conversations with black artists and organizers, including the half-black “Adore You” singer, Doja Cat and Blood Orange’s Dev Hynes

Black Power Live is meant to be “a celebration of the incredible work done by organizers and activists around the world and will be a chance to reflect, regroup and talk about next steps.”

The musical lineup for Black Power Live will feature jazz star Terrace Martin debuting a new piece, “Racism on Trial,” featuring Kamasi WashingtonDenzel CurryRobert GlasperAlex Isley and others. 

Additional performers include Ne-YoAloe BlaccHO99O9 with Travis BarkerVagabonJessie ReyezSerpentwithfeet and Twin Shadow.

Along with the music, Black Power Live will feature interviews and discussions with a mix of artists and activists including Parkland survivor Emma GonzálezDear White People creator Justin Simien and author and filmmaker Dream Hampton.

The event will begin at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET and end at 12:00 am PT/3:00 am ET. 

Money raised will benefit the Crenshaw Dairy MartTrap HealsTransgender Law CenterSankofa and Black Men Build.

A complete lineup, and registration for the event, is available here.

Rosario Dawson to Co-Host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer Campaign Virtual Concert

Rosario Dawson is ready to rock the vote…

The 41-year-old Puerto Rican and Cuban American actress and activist will co-host Rock the Vote’s Democracy Summer campaign kick-off on Thursday, June 18, a two-hour virtual concert co-headlined by Katy Perry and Black Eyed Peas.

Rosario Dawson

Co-hosted by Dawson and Logan Browning with Chuck D and Eve, the event will stream live beginning at 8:00 pm ET/5:00 pm PT on democracysummer.org, and Democracy Summer’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

Ne-YoBig FreediaLucy HaleAmara La NegraSaweetie, Sklyar Astin, Max, Leslie Grace, Dove Cameron, Sofia CarsonRich Brian and Michael K. Williams are among those slated to appear remotely. 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro will make appearances.

“I’m excited to be a part of this kickoff to Democracy Summer 2020 with so many amazing talents, activists and speakers,” says Perry. “The young people of America are speaking loud and clear on the streets and online, and come November, it will be more important than ever to fight for justice and equality, and against systemic racism, with our ballots.”

“The young people are engaged. Their voices are loud and getting louder. The world is watching. And we need to vote,” agrees Chuck D, an early and consistent supporter of Rock the Vote, which was founded in 1990 by Virgin Records America co-chairman Jeff Ayeroff primarily to increase voter turnout among young adults.

“We are seeing the urgency for change in America happening in real time. This is the moment for us to use the most important tool on the planet to fight for that change…our right to vote,” says Ne-Yo. “Our democracy needs our voices. Voting is the moment to be the voice for injustice and for equality. But most importantly, to be the voice for humanity. We cannot let each other down in the local elections or on Nov. 3.”

Produced by BWG Live and in partnership with Voto Latino FoundationWhen We All Vote and March For Our Lives, the concert marks not only the first live-streamed event for the Rock the Vote, but also its first large-scale summer activation. 

In previous years the organization amped up in the fall before a Presidential election and typically staged a live event. Both pivots are a direct result of Covid-19.

“One of the realities is coronavirus derailed the momentum that is required in a major election cycle,” Rock the Vote president Carolyn DeWitt tells Billboard. “A few months ago we began seeing how the restrictions were affecting young people in particular, by moving them off college campuses and disrupting graduations and proms,” she says. “Our effort is really about building that momentum back up.”

With some 4 million young people turning 18 this year and innumerable issues at stake, the goal of Democracy Summer is to bring 200,000 new voters to the polls in November when Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden challenges Donald Trump, as well as myriad primary and local elections throughout the summer and fall. Those interested in the event are encouraged to register at the Democracy Summer web site to get the latest details and lineup updates, although preregistration isn’t required to tune in. Viewers can go to Rock the Vote’s website to register to vote.

The murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and the swell of support around the Black Lives Matter movement also has catalyzed Thursday’s event. As protesters around the country have taken to the streets, Rock the Vote registered 107,000 new voters through its platforms and gained more than 25,000 new Instagram followers during the week of June 1, DeWitt says—numbers that dwarf those of a typical week.

“With what we’ve seen over the last couple weeks, the effort around Democracy Summer has become even more important. It’s not just the virus, it’s bigger than the economy standing still. The world feels like it’s on the brink of chaos and yet this moment around Black Lives Matter is bigger than that,” DeWitt says. “Frankly speaking, a big part of that is people are exercising their rights in a democracy. Young people are looking for things they can do and actions they can take in order to create change. We want to make sure we’re continuing to sustain that fire and passion into November, and make sure young people know the power of their votes and create the change they want to see.”

The live stream will include opportunities for viewers to donate to black-led and -focused organizations including the Community Justice Action Fund and National Action Network.

“Now, more than ever, voting is key for long-term change,” Black Eyed Peas said in a statement. “The youth vote is going to decide the future of America. It’s not just our duty but our honor to spread the word in an election year.”

“The diversity of America is what makes it great, and it is also what makes it our country,” says La Negra. “I am Dominican proudly, yet I am a black woman always. I matter. You matter. And together, we will always matter!”

“The need for young people to get out and vote has never been more important,” says Participant CEO David Linde. “We are proud to be working with Rock the Vote in making that need a reality and by using the inspiring, powerful message of Rep. John Lewis to make good trouble.”

Rock the Vote is planning additional Democracy Summer activations throughout the summer including on the Fourth of July and on August 6, the anniversary of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

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.

J Balvin Earns 10th No. 1 on Billboard Latin Airplay Chart with “Ambiente”

Make that a Perfect 10 for J Balvin

The 33-year-old Colombian urban singer has earned his 10th  No. 1 on the Billboard Latin Airplay chart with “Ambiente,” the fourth single off his latest studio album, Vibras.

J Balvin

The track zooms 10-1 in its 11thweek on the chart dated July 7, and earns the week’s Greatest Gainer honors thanks to a 70 percent increase in audience (to 16.74 million in the week ending July 1), according to Nielsen Music.

The nine-position leap is the biggest jump to No. 1 since March 10, when Wisin’s “Todo Comienza En La Disco,” featuring Yandel and Daddy Yankee, rose 11 ranks (12-1).

“Ambiente,” which was released on April 13, is Balvin’s third No. 1 of the year. It follows “X” with Nicky Jam, which topped the list on the April 28-dated chart, ruling for two weeks, and “Machika” with Neon and Anitta which led for one week on March 24.

“I’m extremely grateful for so many blessings, for seeing how every day we are reinventing ourselves musically,” Balvin tells Billboard. “Thankful as we go surprising the audience with different sounds and “Ambiente” has not been the exception. I am very happy with this 10th  No. 1. Thank you for everything, onwards with the Latin culture.”

For a second week in a row, Balvin has three songs in the top 10 (“Ambiente” at No. 1, “X” with Nicky Jam steady at No. 2, and “I Like It” with Cardi B and Bad Bunny moving 7-10).

Further, for the first time in his career, Balvin holds down the top two at the same time — an achievement only seven other acts have managed in the chart’s 23-year history. Balvin is also just the fifth act to be both Nos. 1 and 2 as a lead artist, and the first since Pitbull in 2011 (Oct. 15, 2011: “Rain Over Me,” featuring Marc Anthony was No. 1, and “Give Me Everything,” featuring Ne-Yo,Afrojack and Nayer was No. 2).

“Ambiente” also lands atop the Latin Rhythm Airplay chart, rising 8-1. It’s Balvin’s 10th No. 1.

Earlier this week, Balvin earned his first-ever No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 alongside Cardi B and Bad Bunny with their hit single “I Like It.”

Morales to Compete on NBC’s “Hollywood Game Night”

It’s game on for Natalie Morales

The 44-year-old Puerto Rican and Brazilian American broadcast journalist, the Today Show West Coast anchor and an NBC News correspondent, will appear on this season of NBC’s Hollywood Game Night.

Natalie Morales

Hosted by Glee star Jane Lynch, this game night show brings regular people face-to-face with celebrities.

In addition to Morales, this season’s famous contestants include Sterling K. Brown, Chrissy Metz, Justin Hartley from This Is Us, Ben Feldman from Superstore, plus Michael Bolton, NE-YO, Mike Colter, Margaret Cho, Gabby Douglas, Taye Diggs, and RuPaul.

Hollywood Game Night will premiere on Monday, August 7 at 10 pm ET.

NBC to Premiere Lopez’s Reality Competition “World of Dance” in May

Jennifer Lopez is ready to dance this May…

NBC has set its 2017 summer schedule, which includes the 47-year-old Puerto Rican actress/singer’s brand new reality competition series World of Dance.

Jennifer Lopez World of Dance

Executive produced by Lopez, who will serve as judge alongside NE-YO and Derek Hough, will premiere on Monday, May 8 at 10:00 pm ET.

Step Up dancer and actress Jenna Dewan Tatum hosts the reality show that’s produced in partnership with global dance brand World of Dance and will result in a $1 million prize for the winner.

After its post-The Voice debut on May 8, World of Dance will move to its regular Tuesday 10 p.m. timeslot beginning on May 30, following America’s Got Talent. (

For more about World of Dance, click here.

Maluma Takes Top Two Spots on Billboard’s Latin Airplay Chart

Maluma is celebrating two concurrent hits…

The Colombian singer has become only the sixth act to concurrently hold the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on Billboard’s Latin Airplay chart as “Sin Contrato” soars 7-1 on the February 11-dated chart.

Maluma

At the same time, the singer remains at No. 2 as a featured act on Shakira’s “Chantaje” for a third straight week.

At 23-years-old, he’s the youngest artist to rule the top two spots on the chart, and the first to do so since 2011.

Before Maluma, the youngest artist to conquer the No. 1 and No. 2 spots was Alejandro Fernandez, who at 25 ruled the chart for two straight weeks in January of 1998 with “En El Jardin,” featuring Gloria Estefan, at No. 1, while “Si Tu Supieras” was No. 2.

Selena spent the most weeks holding both top spots. Beginning four months after the Tejano superstar died, she spent six non-consecutive weeks at the top with “Tu Solo Tu” and “I Could Fall In Love,” between July and September in 1995. She would have been 24-years-old.

The most recent artist to achieve the feat was Pitbull on the October 15, 2011-dated list. He crowned the chart with “Rain On Me,” featuring Marc Anthony, while “Give Me Everything,” featuring Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer, held the No. 2 slot.

The other acts to simultaneously hold the top two spots are Juan Luis Guerra and Juanes.

Maluma’s No. 1s on Latin Airplay
Title, peak date (weeks at No. 1)
“Borro Cassette,” Nov. 21, 2015 (three weeks)
“El Perdedor,” featuring Yandel, Aug. 13, 2016 (one week)
“Vente Pa’ Ca” (Ricky Martin featuring Maluma), Oct. 15, 2016 (two weeks)
“Chantaje” (Shakira featuring Maluma), Nov. 19, 2016 (three weeks)
“Sin Contrato,” featuring Fifth Harmony or Don Omar and Wisin, Feb. 11, 2017 (one week, so far)

“Sin Contrato,” which boasts a version featuring Fifth Harmony and one featuring Don Omar and Wisin, as well as Maluma’s original solo version, rises to the top boosted by a 38 percent at the radio format (to 15.1 million audience impressions in the week ending Jan. 29, according to Nielsen Music).

Meanwhile, on the Hot Latin Songs chart (which blends airplay, sales and streams), “Sin Contrato” earns a new peak hopping 13-7, reaching the top 10 for the first time in its 22nd charting frame. In addition to the on-air increase, 1.4 million U.S. streams (down 1 percent, in the week ending Jan. 26) also support the climb, which marks the singer’s fifth top 10.

Elsewhere on the charts, Maluma vaults 25-5 on Top Latin Albums with Pretty Boy Dirty Boy, with 2,000 equivalent album units earned, during the chart’s first week as a consumption based ranking. The updated chart switched to a multi-metric methodology, blending pure album sales, track equivalent album (TEA) units, and streaming equivalent album (SEA) units. Under the previous album-sales-only formula, the set debuted at No. 1 on the Nov. 21, 2015 chart. The jump marks the first time that the set returns to the top five since its arrival.

Finally, Maluma also lifts 14-10 on the Social 50 chart, which is powered by data tracked by music analytics company Next Big Sound, and ranks the most popular artists on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Wikipedia, and Tumblr. He previously peaked at No. 7 on the December 24 ranking.