If your TV show is called “Empire,” there is no such thing as too much.

Every episode from the first season of the hit Fox series was bursting with plot twists and big-name guest stars like Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, Gladys Knight and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Season 2, which starts Sept. 23, looks to be no different. And given the success (critically and ratings-wise) of the first season, it’s no surprise interest is high for cameo roles.

In addition to Marisa Tomei, who will appear in a recurring role as a venture capitalist, and Andre Royo (Bubbles from “The Wire”), who will play a lawyer, the most prominent guests will include Alicia Keys, Lenny Kravitz, Chris Rock, Ludacris (who will play a prison guard), Mariah Carey and Pitbull. The Cuban-American rapper will appear as himself; the series has already released his song “No Doubt About It,” off this season’s soundtrack.

Southerner Steve Earle takes a stand

Country rockers Steve Earle & The Dukes have released a new song exhorting Mississippi to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag. The single, “It’s Time, Mississippi,” went on sale Friday as a fundraiser for the Southern Poverty Law Center. Virginia native Earle sings that he comes from a “long, long line of a Rebel strain, but the wind has changed.” Old South symbols have been widely debated since the June 17 massacre of nine black worshipers at a church in Charleston, S.C. The man charged in the slayings had previously posed for online photos, holding the Confederate battle flag.


Cosby deleted: A historically black college in Ohio is permanently removing the names of comedian Bill Cosby and his wife Camille from its communications building. In a statement Friday, Central State University in Wilberforce said the Camille O. & William H. Cosby Communications Center has been renamed the CSU Communications Center. The school had been temporarily covering Cosby’s name since July while it made a final decision. The Cosby family has donated more than $2 million to the university. Bill Cosby has been the target of sexual assault allegations by dozens of women.


Lucas wars: Revised plans for “Star Wars” filmmaker George Lucas’ proposed museum on Chicago’s lakefront include a scaled-back design and more green space. The museum’s new deal with the Chicago Park District was unveiled in federal court during a hearing on a lawsuit that a nonprofit group filed in hopes of keeping the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art from being built south of Soldier Field.

News Services