Pact for show's fifth season held up on license fee

Fox and sister 20th Century Fox TV have finally finalized a two-year deal to bring “Bones” back for fall.

In what has become a common tale this upfront season, pact to renew “Bones” was held up as both sides haggled a new license fee for the show (Daily Variety, May 15).

“Bones” is entering its fifth season this fall — the year in which dramatic license fee increases are usually triggered, as studios look to recoup their early costs.

Since both Fox and 20th are News Corp. companies, the price isn’t as big an issue as what it means for the show’s profit participants. Given that self-dealing lawsuits are commonplace, the studio and network wanted to make sure a deal was in place that could be signed off by everyone.

The “Bones” deal repped the toughest negotiation between studio and network so far in the new News Corp. reporting structure. With the departure of Peter Chernin, who had overseen both sides, the studio and network now have separate reports.

“Bones” exec producer Hart Hanson broke the news of the show’s renewal via his Twitter account.

Hanson, who said he had received news of the pickup from a Fox exec, had earlier expressed confidence that a deal would be made.

“Business is business,” he said. “It takes a while to get all of the major players on the same page. Tough business.”

“Bones” was never really in danger of not returning. Show has helped Fox finally develop a scripted series pulse on Thursday nights for the first time in years.

But 20th did do its due diligence in recent weeks, contacting other networks to see how much they would pay for “Bones” — under the assumption that they were looking for the show’s fair market value.

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