Gabrielle Union claims she agreed to shoot no more than 13 episodes of a season of Being Mary Jane for BET — not 20.
That’s why the star of Being Mary Jane — and self-described face of BET — has sued the network over attempting to “cram all the episodes” from years four and five into one season in an effort to defraud the actress out of more money. She’s seeking in excess of $1 million in damages, according to the lawsuit filed Oct. 11 in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The lawsuit alleges that Union was promised a work schedule that didn’t exceed 13 episodes a season and a season 5 raise of $15,000 per episode, meaning her pay would jump from $150,000 to $165,000 if the show made it to a fifth year. After production wrapped at the end of season 3, the show was left without a showrunner for nearly a year. Once BET hired Erica Shelton Kodish (The Good Wife) to take over Jane, it’s believed she asked that seasons 4 and 5 be shot back-to-back so she’d have the chance to work on other TV projects, the suit states.
Union requested a two-to-three month hiatus between seasons so she could work on a motion picture, but the network continued to move ahead with a schedule of concurrently shooting 10 episodes for season 4 and 10 episodes of season 5, the suit states.
BET released this statement in response: “While we hold Gabrielle Union in the highest esteem, we feel strongly that we are contractually well within our rights and are committed to reaching a swift and positive resolution in this matter.”
Season 4 of Being Mary Jane, which follows the personal and professional life of a successful TV anchor in Atlanta, is expected to premiere on BET in January. The drama from Mara Brock Akil debuted in 2013.