Promising the most tension she’s seen outside of every interview she’s given over the past year, Cosby Show star Phylicia Rashad is set to clash with Taraji P. Henson on Empire this season. The erstwhile Clair Huxtable will appear in a recurring role as another mother, this time to Taye Diggs’ “prominent New York politician” character, who follows the scandal-ridden, self-destructive trajectory of all NY politicians—in his case, by getting mixed up with Henson’s Cookie.
Rashad’s character will be named “Diana Dubois” (because Empire is, at its heart, dinner-theater Tennessee Williams), and in the press release, Fox says her ambitions for her son will naturally clash with his getting mixed up with a family that’s perpetually having expertly choreographed rap-fights. Or to put it another way, “Diana’s interactions with Cookie, Lucious and the rest of the Lyon clan will lay bare the stark class divides that can exist, even within the black community,” with Diana presumably fixing the Lyons and their scrappy ways with the same arched-eyebrow stare she once gave Cliff whenever he ate too many hoagies. Welcome back to network television, and to a series whose male lead’s own disturbing legal problems are none of your concern, Phylicia Rashad!