Cookie Lyon may not be the undisputed queen of Empire for much longer.
The show’s producers are on the hunt for a baby-faced actress to play the recurring, potentially breakout role of Betty Barz — a “moody, outspoken” teenage rapper who’ll be introduced in the Sept. 23 Season 2 premiere (9/8c on Fox), titled “The Devils Are Here,” TVLine has learned exclusively.
Betty, who’s also known as “Betty Gathers” and “The Queen O’ 16S” is described as African-American, “unapologetically butch,” and something of a hometown hero in her “Brownsville-Never-Ran-Never-Will, Brooklyn” neighborhood. Her undeniable talent has led to her winning “more rhyme battles and girls’ hearts than the best male vets on her block.” (We’re guessing “winning girls’ hearts” means the new character is a lesbian, but then again, maybe that just means most of her mixtape buyers are female?)
Despite the fact that Betty is “charismatic and witty with a street lean,” though, the road to possible fame — via a deal with Empire Entertainment’s new CEO Jamal, perhaps? — won’t necessarily be a smooth one. In fact, her “deep fears push her toward self-sabotage” — and prevent her from fully turning her back on the streets.
At least some of those issues can be attributed to the fact that Betty is the daughter of an incarcerated drug kingpin; “Pops,” it turns out, is the one person who can silence and humble his hard-headed emcee offspring.
Empire‘s Season 2 premiere is being written by executive producers Danny Strong and Ilene Chaiken.
Among the show’s already confirmed guest stars in its sophomore run are CSI: Miami‘s Adam Rodriguez, comedian Chris Rock, R&B superstar Alicia Keys and rock god Lenny Kravitz. Additionally, Gabourey Sidibe and Ta’Rhonda Jones, who play Lucious’ and Cookie’s respective lackeys Becky and Porsha, have been elevated to full-fledged series regulars, TVLine reported exclusively in April.
Dig the direction Strong and Chaiken are heading? Any suggestions for who could play Betty? Sound off in the comments!