The cast of Bones is suing Fox for tens of millions of dollars. Last Wednesday, producer Barry Josephson filed a lawsuit against the network. And this week, actors Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, along with executive producer Kathy Reichs, have followed suit. All parties claim they have been shortchanged when it comes to profits made by producers 20th Century Fox Television, the Fox network and affiliated companies. The long-running procedural has been on the air for 11 Seasons and counting.
The trio's new lawsuit claims that they have not seen any profits from the show for a number of years, despite the fact that it is one of the longest running dramas currently still on the air, and has been extremely successful. The lawsuit filed on November 25 by Barry Josephson holds similar claims. All four individuals say that Fox has underpaid them through accounting tricks. Vertical Intergartion is also sighted as one means of keeping earned money out of their pockets. Fox is accused of providing production division licenses for the show at an artificially discounted rate to the company's affiliated distribution channel.
Fox is also said to have fraudulently accounted for revenue, lowered license fees so that the series would never show a profit, and withheld documents helping to better ascertain the extent to which they are owed money. The lawsuit also sites Fox's leading role in well-documented accounting scandals surrounding the legacy of M*A*S*H, The X-Files, NYPD Blue and Cops. Fox has so far declined comment.
Kathy Reichs is the creator of Bones and author of the novels upon which the character of Temperance Brennan is based. The forensic anthropologist turned TV producer claims that she was promised a 5 percent share of profits, with leading actors Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz contractually obligated to 3 percent of the profits. Periodic accounting statements had been sent to each plaintiff, but THR states directly from the lawsuit that "as the series became more profitable for Fox over the years, these accounting statements issued by 20th TV counter-intuitively showed plaintiffs falling farther and farther away from achieving profits."
In 2009, these accounting statements showed that Kathy Reichs was $90 million away from receiving profits payments, and that the actors were $100 million away. The former claim they never even saw a copy of their initial profits definition. The trio discovered that they had received no profits despite contract renegotiations, and found they were being cheated out of more than $100 million in gross revenues. On top of that, it was discovered that they all had been overcharged millions of dollars in alleged expenses.
All four plaintiffs claim that 20th Century TV and Fox threatened to cancel the show if profit participants did not accept reduced license fees for renewals. The audit is said to have also 'allegedly' uncovered improper "packages" that "disproportionately allocate a greater share of the total fees" to less valuable shows. This is said to have finically hurt Bones and its profit participants. Together, both actors on the show claim that they have uncovered "more than a dozen accounting errors, tricks, and deceitful acts that 20th TV has used to deprive plaintiffs of their entitlement to profits". You can read more about the lawsuit at THR.