12:13pm PT by Kate Stanhope, Lesley Goldberg
'Being Mary Jane' to End on BET in 2018 With Two-Hour Movie
Being Mary Jane is coming to a close on BET.
The Gabrielle Union-led drama is set to end in 2018 with a two-hour series finale movie, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.
"Being Mary Jane has been a landmark series not only for BET, but for African-American women around the world who saw themselves in Mary Jane, her family, friends and co-workers. From the captivating storytelling, to the richly complex characters, to the powerful issues tackled on the series, we remain immensely proud," BET Networks executive vp and head of programming Connie Orlando said Wednesday in a statement. "We are grateful to the cast and creators of Being Mary Jane, who have worked tirelessly to bring this world to vivid life over the past four seasons. We also thank the many loyal viewers whose hearts and minds were captured every week, and kept Mary Jane trending worldwide. We look forward to closing out Mary Jane’s journey with a series finale that is sure to blow fans away!”
The finale movie is a full-circle moment for the series, which first began as a movie in 2013 before it was turned into a show. Being Mary Jane was one of the Viacom cable network's first forays into scripted series programming.
The series hailed from creator Mara Brock Akil and her husband and producing partner Salim Akil, who also had success at BET with their revival of the football drama The Game. However, Brock Akil stepped as showrunner on Being Mary Jane when she and her husband signed a lucrative, three-year deal at Warner Bros. TV that began in May 2016.
With the Akils' exit, prolific producer Will Packer (Girls Trip) came on board the series as an executive producer. The Good Wife grad Erica Shelton Kodish was tapped to replace Brock Akil as showrunner. However, Shelton Kodish signed a multiyear overall deal with CBS TV Studios in September, leaving her future on Being Mary Jane in question had the series continued. The show wrapped the second half of its 20-episode fourth season on Sept. 19.
The end of the series also comes after Union, who is also an executive producer on Being Mary Jane, sued the network in October 2016. At the time, she claimed that BET was combining seasons four and five of the series in an attempt to lower her pay and extend her contract. She and the cabler settled the suit two months later.
The decision to wrap Being Mary Jane comes as BET is expanding its scripted footprint. The network recently picked up VH1 scripted dramas The Breaks and Hit the Floor for second seasons as part of a larger mandate at Viacom to focus on six core brands: BET, Comedy Central, Paramount Network, MTV, Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. This month, BET is getting into the late-night space with Robin Thede's half-hour talker The Rundown. The cabler is also undergoing some executive changes as Michael D. Armstrong was recently appointed its new GM, joining the company after the exit of head of originals Stephen Hill. BET is also moving its headquarters to New York and closing its longtime offices in Washington, D.C.