January 17, 2006

‘X-Files’ Creator Taking Fox TV to Court

By Jesse Hiestand

LOS ANGELES -- The creator of "The X-Files" has sued 20th Century Fox Television for breach of contract, contractual interference and other claims over payments allegedly owed to him from the hit television series.

Chris Carter accuses the studio of reneging on terms of the deal because they were found to be "too favorable" to him, according to the lawsuit, filed in December in Los Angeles Superior Court.

Carter brought the case through his production company, Ten Thirteen, and is seeking unspecified damages.

The suit was filed by attorney Stanton "Larry" Stein, who represented "X-Files" star David Duchovny during a 1999 battle in which the actor fought for a higher share of profits from the show's lucrative syndication deals.

In the new suit, Carter alleges that when 20th's network sibling, Fox Broadcasting Co., wanted the show to return for a sixth and seventh season, he agreed to do so through a 1998 agreement that gave him a "profit guarantee."

When it came time to negotiate a ninth season, Carter said he urged the studio to cancel its existing domestic cable deal for "X-Files" repeat rights with their sibling FX network and pursue a new one with other networks. Carter said he also negotiated for a "cable advance" equal to 25% of the gross license fee paid to 20th in excess of $300,000 per episode.

Carter said that in 2001, 20th Century Fox TV asked him to reduce the cable advance because it "would result, in their view, in too large a benefit to plaintiff, and too small a benefit to Fox Television." Carter refused to change the terms, according to the complaint.

Carter accuses the studio of breaching its agreement by refusing to pay the original profit agreement or the subsequent cable advance.

20th went ahead and canceled the agreement with FX and entered into a new one with USA Network and TNT. It is alleged that Fox insisted that the old cable agreement was not "terminated" but merely "assigned" to the other networks.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter