“X-Files” Creator Sues Fox
The cash is out there, and Chris Carter wants to find it.
The X-Files mastermind’s latest conspiracy theory, put forth in a recent lawsuit, accuses 20th Century Fox Television of screwing him out of millions of dollars in residuals related to the show’s profitable syndication agreement, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The suit, filed in December in Los Angeles Superior Court, claims Fox’s TV production arm breached a 1998 contract with Carter–signed when the company’s corporate sibling, Fox Broadcasting, brought back The X-Files for a sixth and seventh season–because the financial terms turned out to be “too favorable” to the creator at the expense of the studio.
Carter says his deal called for him to be paid a “profit guarantee” when the studio licensed reruns of the paranormal drama to a domestic cable network. However, the suit accuses 20th Century TV of cutting a sweetheart deal with in-house cable net FX. The bargain-bin price, Carter says, effectively cheated him out of a substantial windfall if The X-Files had been put up for bid on the open market.
Carter says when he was negotiating for a ninth season of The X-Files, he pushed the studio to scrap its licensing deal with FX and go after a bigger payday with another network.
Further, Carter claims he was supposed to be paid a “cable advance” that could have totaled $300,000 per episode.
Carter says the studio approached him in 2001 and requested he voluntarily agree to a lower advance because, as he writes in his complaint, it “would result, in their view, in too large a benefit to plaintiff, and too small a benefit to Fox Television.” He declined.
Ultimately, 20th Century TV ended its agreement with FX and struck a subsequent syndication deal with USA Network and TNT. Carter says he was again shortchanged.
Neither Carter’s lawyer, Larry Stein, nor Fox reps returned phone calls seeking comment.
Not so coincidentally, Stein represented X-Files star David Duchovny in a similar suit the actor brought against Fox, claiming he was cheated out of $25 million when the reruns were sold to–you guessed it–FX and other Fox outlets. Duchovny also accused Carter of conspiring to aid Fox in exchange for millions of dollars in “hush” money and a new TV development deal. The suit was eventually settled out of court for nearly $20 million.
The X-Files ended its run in 2002 after nine seasons. There’s been no word whether Carter will ever move forward with his long-rumored sequel to 1998’s X-Files movie. The current lawsuit might be a ploy to jumpstart a movie deal–or just the final nail in the franchise’s coffin.
“X-Files” Creator Sues Fox