So far, 2017 has been a very successful year for BET, especially with the boost from the New Edition Story's record-setting ratings, and a combination of new shows (like The Quad) and older series that have brought the network into conversations about basic cable's best TV. And the fourth season of BET's original drama Being Mary Jane may be coming to an end, but that series has been a big part of the critical reevaluation of the network, even if it draws only a modest-sized audience every week. So will Being Mary Jane return for Season 5 to continue that streak? BET has yet to make an announcement on the fate of the series, but the Season 4 renewal drama could give a hint as to which way the choice could go.
Being Mary Jane Season 4 almost didn't happen, but it's not because the network didn't want more episodes. It was actually the show's star, Gabrielle Union (who holds the entire series together with the force of her performance) who was at the center of a debate over the show's future.
In October 2016, Union sued BET for an alleged violation of her contract, which states that each season would not exceed 13 episodes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The lawsuit alleged that instead, the network was planning on filming two 10-episode seasons in a row and airing them as one long fourth season. Union sued because if the show were to reach a fifth season, she'd receive a raise, which she claimed BET was trying to avoid. In a statement to THR, the network said, "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."
Then in December, The Hollywood Reporter reported that Union and BET had reached a settlement, the details of which were not made public. The network released a statement that said, "BET Networks is pleased to announce that they have reached an amicable agreement with Gabrielle Union and look forward to sharing the new season of Being Mary Jane with its loyal fans beginning January 10, 2017." Season 4 ended up having 10 episodes.
But none of this means that Union has wavered in her devotion to Being Mary Jane. On International Women's Day, she chose to honor the cast and crew, so she clearly still respects the people who put the show together.
And though there was a lawsuit over the contract, BET still initially wanted 20 new episodes. If the network still wants an additional 10 episodes to continue the story of Mary Jane Paul, and Union wants to continue her role, it should be no problem for Being Mary Jane Season 5 to arrive next year.