Robbie Williams, Whitney Houston to take Jacko’s place at O2 arena

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Robbie Williams and Whitney Houston are set to make their respective comebacks with a series of concerts at London’s O2 arena in 2010.

Michael Jackson was due to perform 50 shows at the venue, kicking off earlier this month and spanning into next year. His sudden death left a string of empty dates at the arena, with bosses at AEG, which owns the 20,000-seat stadium, facing a race against time to fill the slots.

Both singers are releasing long-awaited new albums this year, and the US entertainment giant believes they have identified two artists with sufficient profile to sell out a series of gigs at the Greenwich venue.

An AEG source told the London Evening Standard: “Robbie’s eagerly-awaited album will be out soon and he is likely to be touring Europe next year. It will be perfect for him to start with shows at the O2.

“Whitney Houston has been on the O2 arena wish-list for a while — she has the voice and hits to sell the arena out several times over.”