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Christina Milian replacing Naya Rivera in ‘Step Up’ on Starz
Christina Milian is stepping up.
The Grammy-nominated singer and actress will replace “Glee” alum Naya Rivera, who drowned at age 33 last July, in the Starz series “Step Up.”
“I am so excited to join the ‘Step Up’ family,” said Milian (“The Oath”) in a statement. “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.”
In Season 3, Milian, 39, will take over the role of Collette, which was played by Rivera in the series’ first two seasons
“Naya’s death was a terrible loss to our world that we will, frankly, never stop mourning,” creator and executive producer Holly Sorensen said. “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.”
The “Step Up” series — about a performing art school in Atlanta — was inspired by the film of the same title. It also stars three-time Grammy-winning singer and actor Ne-Yo, who plays Sage Odom, the founder of the show’s High Water Performing Art School and also Collette’s love and business partner.
“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,” Ne-Yo added in his own statement. “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!”
Rivera — whose $2.69 million LA home was sold just last month — tragically died in Southern California’s Lake Piru last summer while on a pontoon boat excursion with her 5-year-old son Josey, who was 4 at the time. In December, her former “Glee” co-stars launched a GoFundMe campaign — which has raised nearly $118,000 — to benefit Alexandria House, a nonprofit she supported that provides safe housing for women and children in the process of moving from emergency shelter to economic stability and permanent housing.
Executive producers for the series include Sorensen, Adam Shankman and Jennifer Gibgot, as well as original “Step Up” film stars Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan.