TV Thoughts: Is BEING MARY JANE in Jeopardy? Gabrielle Union Suing BET over breach of contract

Gabrielle Union

Over the past three years, there have been several shows to which I became addicted – Empire (MMT live tweet every Wednesday @musicfilmdiva), Power, American Crime, Daredevil, Atlanta, Queen Sugar, Luke Cage and – the show that premiered on BET as a movie with a subsequent half-year wait before its episodic début – BEING MARY JANE. Now Deadline Hollywood has broken the story that star of the latter, Gabrielle Union, has filed a lawsuit against the BET network for breach of contract.

According to the lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court by the actress’s attorney Marty Singer,

“Although BET represented and assured Ms. Union before she agreed to perform in Being Mary Jane that it would never produce more than thirteen (13) episodes per season of the series,” the suit says, “BET now wants to shoot twenty (20) episodes of the series back-to-back and cram all of the episodes into a single season in order to fraudulently extend the term of Ms. Union’s contract, with no additional consideration, and to deprive Ms. Union of her agreed-upon compensation for the next two seasons of Being Mary Jane. It is outrageous that BET would treat one of its biggest stars in this manner after all she has done to support the network and contribute to its success.”

The actress is seeking damages to the tune of three million dollars, and a declaration that the network cannot request over 13 episodes per season.

This news comes just days after the welcome announcement of actor Michael Ealy joining the cast, opposite Union, for the upcoming fourth season. It also coincides with anticipated changes following the transition of showrunner Mara Brock Akil and husband/director Salim Akil – who left BET network after signing a deal with Warner Bros. TV. The Akils will retain executive producer credit, along with additions Will Packer and new show head Erica Shelton Kodish.

Let’s pray that “Being Mary Jane” not only makes it past this legal brouhaha, but that it continues successfully through seasons four and five – because let’s face it, The Following (add that to the above addiction list), Almost Human, Common Law, and Sleeper Cell were all cursed with cancellation, and the one common denominator was Ealy!

No shade towards Michael Ealy, I believe he was great in each role – especially my faves The Following and Sleeper Cell, where he played a serial killer/sociopath and an undercover FBI agent infiltrating a terrorist cell respectively. (Side note: I joked with Mr. Ealy about missing Sleeper Cell in a previous interview here).

In the meantime, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed.

Until next thought, Thomasena






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