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Being Mary Jane Finds an Overlooked Audience: Black Women

Gabrielle Union in Being Mary Jane
Gabrielle Union in Being Mary JaneCourtesy BET Networks/Quantrell D. Colbert

On Tuesday night, BET unveiled Being Mary Jane, its new drama starring Gabrielle Union. More than 5.1 million people tuned in—the premiere was shown back to back, with the first run earning 3.3 million viewers, and the second snagging an additional 1.8 million—making it one of BET’s most successful premieres to date.

The show is about a young talk-show host who navigates life (her friend almost commits suicide), love (she slept with a married man), and her dysfunctional family (her mother is dying and her niece wants to do porn), plus tons of other scandals likely to arise during the show’s eight-episode season. Being Mary Jane is clearly aimed at women, who so far have made up three-quarters of its audience.