The current season (its 4th) of BET’s hit series “Being Mary Jane” kicked off on January 10, after a much publicized legal dispute over salary and production cost-cutting (star Gabrielle Union filed a $3 million lawsuit filed against BET for “breach of contract”), and will air its mid-season finale tomorrow night, March 21, at 10pm.
It was in October 2016 when Union filed the multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the cable TV network (and series producer Breakdown Productions), leaving the future of the series at the time uncertain. Via a copy of the lawsuit, Union claimed that, per her contract, BET would never produce more than 13 episodes per season, so that the actress could also be free to pursue movie roles; but the network was allegedly trying to “cram all of the episodes [two 10-episode seasons back-to-back, without a previously agreed upon break between filming] into a single season in order to fraudulently extend the term of Ms. Union’s contract.”
Union says she and the network agreed to those terms, as long as she got a break in filming. Under her contract, Union is due for a raise for every additional season the show airs, the suit said.
Union was set to receive $150,000 per episode for season four, and $165,000 per episode for season five. Union’s attorney Martin Singer claimed the network was essentially combining the 4th and 5th seasons of the series into one shoot, in order to avoid paying his client’s contractual raise (from $150K to $165K), and, in doing so, fraudulently extends its option to keep her tied to the network for an extended year (we assume, should they want a 6th season of “Being Mary Jane”).
The matter was eventually settled when BET released a late December statement saying that they had reached an amicable agreement with Gabrielle Union, and were looking forward to sharing the new season of ‘Being Mary Jane’ with its loyal fans; although specifics of the settlement weren’t made public.
With what the network is calling a mid-season finale, airing tomorrow, fans are wondering when the show will return, given the details of the above now-settled case; per the suit, “BET would never produce more than 13 episodes per season… but the network was trying to ‘cram all of the episodes [two 10-episode seasons back-to-back, without a previously agreed upon break between filming] into a single season in order to fraudulently extend the term of Ms. Union’s contract”.
It appears that’s exactly what happened, as BET has confirmed today that “Being Mary Jane” will return on July 18 for a 10-episode second half of what is the current 4th season, instead of what maybe should’ve been a 5th season; each of the first 3 seasons were 12 episodes or less (season 1 had 9 episodes; season 2 had 12 episodes; and season 3, 10 episodes).
But fans of the show should be pleased that it is indeed returning for at least another 10 episodes. Beyond that, we will find out eventually.
In tomorrow’s mid-season finale, Mary Jane (Union) is prepping for her approaching 40th birthday, with plans looking up. But things don’t go as hoped for. Watch a preview of the mid-season finale, below:
— #BeingMaryJane (@beingmaryjane) March 20, 2017