Gabrielle Union of BET’s “Being Mary Jane”
*Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil’s “Being Mary Jane,” starring Gabrielle Union as a single career woman, will open the 16th Annual Urbanworld Film Festival on Sept. 20 in New York ahead of its 2013 bow on BET.
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Formerly titled “Single Black Female,” the show stars Union as Mary Jane Paul, a successful TV news anchor who is still single and whose large extended family does not share her career ambitions. Omari Hardwick plays Union’s love interest.
The cast also includes Lisa Vidal, Margaret Avery, Richard Brooks, B.J. Britt, Raven Goodwin, Aaron D. Spears, Richard Roundtree, Robin Lee, Latarsha Rose, Tika Sumpter and Stephen Bishop.
Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil
As previously reported, “Being Mary Jane” will serve as a backdoor pilot for what will be BET’s first original drama. It is the Akils’ second series for BET after half-hour comedy “The Game,” which broke ratings records at the network.
The Akils, who also produced Whitney Houston’s final film “Sparkle” (Mara Brock Akil wrote the script and Salim Akil directed), have a wide-ranging production deal with BET.
Urbanworld takes place September 19-23 at AMC 34th Street in Manhattan. Schedule and ticket information can be found at www.urbanworld.org.
Actress Gabrielle Union attends Game Four of the 2012 NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Oklahoma City Thunder on June 19, 2012 at American Airlines Arena in Miami.
*Deadline.com is reporting that BET has decided to pick up its hourlong pilot “Being Mary Jane” (formerly “Single Black Female”) starring Gabrielle Union to series.
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Penned by Mara Brock Akil and directed by Salim Akil, the drama centers on successful talk show host Mary Jane Paul (Union) looking to one day become the No.1 nightly news anchor while searching for Mr. Right.
Production on the series, co-starring Latarsha Rose and Omari Hardwick, is slated to begin in January for a launch later in the year.
This marks Mara Brock Akil’s second series on BET along with hit comedy “The Game,” which also is directed by Salim Akil. The married couple has a mega deal with BET, which includes a series and several pilot commitments.
*In casting news, actress Cassandra Freeman, best known for her role on the CBS series “Numbers,” has been added to VH1′s hourlong series “Single Ladies,” while Lisa Vidal, who played Blair Underwood’s wife in NBC’s “The Event,” joins Gabrielle Union in BET’s hourlong pilot “Being Mary Jane,” formerly known as “Single Black Female.”
Freeman, who also starred on the big screen in “Inside Man” and “I Think I Love My Wife,” will play Morgan Hayes on “Single Ladies,” executive produced by Queen Latifah.
Vidal, meanwhile, will play Kara on “Being Mary Jane,” written by “The Game” creator Mara Brock Akil and to be directed by Salim Akil.
The show centers on successful talk show host Mary Jane Paul (Union) looking to one day become the No.1 nightly news anchor while searching for Mr. Right. Kara is the lead producer for Mary Jane’s show and Mary Jane’s friend.
Richard Roundtree attends the "An American In Paris" screening as part of the 2011 TCM Classic Film Festival at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood (April 30, 2011)
*BET has rounded out their Gabrielle Union pilot “Single White Female” with the addition of veteran actor Richard Roundtree, and “The Bold and the Beautiful” star Aaron D. Spears, reports Deadline.
As previously reported, the hourlong drama is from Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, the husband-and-wife duo behind the cable network’s hit comedy series “The Game.”
Written by “The Game” creator Brock Akil, “Single Black Female” chronicles the work and family life of popular talk show host Mary Jane (Union).
Spears will play Mark Bradley, a charismatic co-anchor and close friend to Mary Jane. Roundtree will play Mary Jane’s father.