Gabrielle Union will star in the pilot for "Being Mary Jane," a new BET series, and will return to the role in January to film the full first season.
Union, 40, plays Mary Jane, a successful cable news show host with a strong desire for further success. Mary Jane also works to help her family become independent so that she can be a daughter and sister rather than a caretaker. The show is BET's first foray into TV drama.
Union lost a role in "Scandal" to Kerry Washington, but this marks her return to television, and an escape from being typecast as the good-girl-meets-wounded-bird role. To prepare for the "Mary Jane" role, she studied tapes of Soledad O'Brien.
"She's flawed," Gabrielle Union said. "She's chasing perfection, and she's falling dramatically short and dealing with the consequences of not having it all in every aspect of her life."
The pilot premieres July 12 followed by a full season in January 2014.