NEWS, NOTES AND TRENDS ON L.A.’S ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY
David Duchovny has Fox over a big barrel.
The star of “The X-Files,” one of the Fox network’s premiere dramas, is in talks about whether he’ll return for an eighth season this fall.
While co-star Gillian Anderson previously signed for an additional year, Duchovny’s current contract expires in May.
What makes a new deal so important to Fox is that the show is a linchpin for its Sunday-night lineup. Replacing it with a new drama is an iffy proposition.
Moreover, the series is a strategic weapon for Fox. Having the sci-fi drama in the 9 p.m. Sunday time slot means it often draws viewers from the first hour of movies aired by rival networks.
“Duchovny is very important to the show,” said Bill Croasdale, a media buyer for Initiative Media, North America. “He and (Anderson) made the show, and any time you have two primary characters and one leaves, it’s significant. This is not like ‘Law & Order,’ where you have an ensemble cast and you can make changes throughout the years. When you have two principals and one leaves, it’s never the same.”
Croasdale said the buzz within the advertising community is that Duchovny will not return and Fox will drop the show, although the network could try to revive it by adding a new FBI agent to search for aliens with Anderson.
Risa Shapiro, Duchovny’s agent, said she has not spoken to Fox officials about a new deal during the past two weeks. “If they come back to us, great,” she said. “If they don’t come back to us, great.”
What makes the negotiations so thorny is a lawsuit Duchovny filed against Fox, claiming it conspired to reduce his profits by making a sweetheart deal to syndicate the series to such Fox-owned entities as the FX cable channel and affiliate stations.
A source close to Duchovny said he would return for an additional season if the broadcasting company “lived up to its contractual obligations” concerning syndication.
Putting even more pressure on Fox is the desire for a sequel to the 1998 “X-Files” theatrical film. The original earned more than $100 million.
Movers & Shakers
Business at downtown’s Los Angeles Center Studios has been brisk since it opened its doors late last summer. LACS reports that it has a 95 percent occupancy rate at its six stages. Among the films that have used the facility the first film studio build in the downtown area in 50 years are “Mission Impossible,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Numbers,” starring John Travolta, and “Bounce,” starring Ben Affleck
UPN is pulling the plug on “Star Trek: Voyager.” The series will make its final trip in May after seven seasons. It will be replaced by a new Star Trek series currently in development at Paramount.
The Oscar loot for best acting nominees is building. Best actor and actress, and best supporting actor and actress, will get free baskets of Skyy Vodka. Hush Puppies is also giving away its gum-soled shoes to all nominees