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Twenty years after groundbreaking series The Cosby Show ended in 1992, Tempestt Bledsoe has returned to NBC in the Jimmy Fallon-produced sitcom Guys with Kids to play Marny, the working mother of four kids and wife of stay-at-home dad Gary, played by Anthony Anderson. Slated for Wednesday night, the second episode of Guys with Kids kicks off September 26.

Bledsoe’s Vanessa left an indelible mark. Smart — wise beyond her years, even — Vanessa possessed the many positive qualities a lot of people recognized in their own daughters, granddaughters, sisters and nieces. But, as thankful as the Chicago native is to have been the vessel for Vanessa Huxtable, that role was far from her last act. Shortly after the show ended, Bledsoe helmed her own self-titled talk show. In the last decade especially, her career has been a mix of acting and reality gigs. Actually, the FOX reality series Househusbands of Hollywood that she starred in alongside her longtime love Darryl Bell, better known as Ron Johnson from A Different World, bears a great resemblance to Guys with Kids. She also hosted Clean House.

theGrio caught up with her to discuss her return to NBC, playing a mother, Debbie Allen’s reported resurrection of A Different World and, of course, the enduring legacy of The Cosby Show.

You are back on NBC. What has returning to NBC been like for you?

It’s been really great so far. Everyone has been very receptive. The audience has been really supportive of the show. Twitter has been ablaze. All of the NBC executives are very excited about what they’re seeing. Working with Jimmy Fallon has been great. It’s really just an ideal situation and ideal timing as far as just the stars aligning and everything aligning perfectly.

With Marny, you’ve taken on a different mother role than we’ve seen on television.

Traditionally yes [that’s what we’ve seen], but I think it’s a really good thing because there are so many families that are operating differently than, say, their parents did or their grandparents did for so many different reasons, whether it’s the economy, the cost of childcare. Instead of having both parents in the workplace, sometimes simply it’s more effective to have one parent stay home because childcare costs have spiraled completely out of control and you find that you have a parent working solely just to pay for the childcare so that they can go to work. I know several families that were in that situation and just said look it makes more sense for one of us to stay home and care for the children and know who is taking care of them and whoever can get the bigger the paycheck and that can be the woman or the man. It came down to that situation with Gary and Marny. It just so worked out that it was him [who stayed home].

What do you think of this arrangement?

I think it’s really great to see a father parenting the children especially [since] we have four boys and all of them are under 7. Every time I see Anthony wheeling the twin boys around and the two little boys trailing behind him, it’s the cutest picture in the world. It makes me laugh even before he opens his mouth. It’s just so adorable.

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