James Hibberd
July 12, 2013 AT 04:00 AM EDT

BET saw ratings fireworks during the July 4 holiday week with the unveiling of Being Mary Jane, an original movie about a big-city anchorwoman (Gabrielle Union). The 90-minute film from The Game creator Mara Brock Akil topped the cable charts on July 2 with 4 million viewers and will become the network’s first original drama series early next year. BET original-programming head Charlie Jordan Brookins called the debut ”a confirmation of the excitement we already had internally…. I watched the reaction on Twitter and people were really responding.” Mary Jane will build on BET’s strong lineup: The second season of Kevin Hart‘s Real Husbands of Hollywood premieres this fall, and the midseason return of The Game earned 6.3 million viewers on July 2.

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