You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Duchovny sues Fox over TV rights sales

Thesp points finger at 'X-Files' creator

“X-Files” star David Duchovny sued 20th Century Fox Film Corp. Thursday, alleging that the studio has cheated him out of millions of dollars in profits from the television series.

The lawsuit, filed in the Santa Monica branch of Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that Fox sold various rights to the “X-Files” to its own or affiliated companies at below-market prices and engaged in other actions that reduced the apparent profits generated by the series.

Adding an unusual twist, Duchovny also alleges that series creator and executive producer Chris Carter conspired with Fox to cover up the self-dealing, and was paid hush money amounting to millions of dollars for his compliance. Carter, however, is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

Although the amount of damages is not specified in the complaint, sources say Duchovny is seeking in excess of $25 million.

Duchovny is not planning to leave the series, which is beginning its seventh season.

Duchovny and his company, King Baby, are represented by Larry Stein of Alschuler Grossman Stein & Kahan. In similar suits alleging self-dealing, Stein represented Wind Dancer, the producers of “Home Improvement,” against ABC, and Alan Alda, who has a profit participation in the “MASH” series, in a suit against Fox. Both cases were settled before trial.

A spokesperson for Fox said, “It is the policy of this company not to comment on potential or actual litigation. In fact, we have neither seen a complaint nor are we aware of a complaint having been served on Fox. Suffice to say, it is regrettable that Mr. Duchovny and his representatives have opted to communicate this matter through the press rather than directly with Fox.”

The series, starring Duchovny as special FBI agent Fox Mulder, is hugely profitable. According to the complaint, the series will generate a profit of $1.4 billion to $1.5 billion to Fox over its life as a network series, in syndication and in other formats. The series was also the basis for a feature film with a worldwide gross of almost $185 million.

According to the complaint, Duchovny agreed in 1995 to extend his contract to do the show for two more years in exchange for profit participation, which was to be defined and paid in the same manner as Carter’s participation.

But, states the complaint, because of “corporate greed,” Fox intentionally reduced revenues to profit participants by selling the show to its affiliates instead of seeking the most competitive and beneficial deal.

Fox sold the series to its own broadcast network, Fox Broadcasting Co.; its own cable network, FX Cable Network; and the syndication rights to its own group of stations, Fox Television Stations.

As for Carter’s role in the matter, Duchovny alleges that Fox “paid to Carter millions of dollars in ‘hush’ money and granted to Carter a 13-episode commitment to develop and produce a new television series for Fox and FBC in order to ‘buy’ Carter’s silence and his acquiescence in Fox’s self-dealing with its affiliated entities.”

Attached to the complaint is an internal Fox memo indicating a $4 million payment to Carter and an additional series commitment. Duchovny alleges that the payments to Carter were charged against “X-Files” as advances to Carter and deducted from the gross receipts of the show. By reducing the gross, these payments also reduce Duchovny’s profit participation.

Carter could not be reached for comment Thursday.

More Biz

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content