“The X-Files” creator Chris Carter has inked an exclusive development and production deal with 20th Century Fox TV, which includes a first-look feature component and calls for him to develop at least one new series for Fox Broadcasting Co. next fall.
The pact, which has been in the works for months, keeps Carter as executive producer of “The X-Files” for at least two more seasons and “Millennium” for at least one more, while he develops new projects for Fox under his Ten Thirteen Prods.
Sources say the deal, which lasts five years with options for Carter to leave sooner, is worth between $25 million and $30 million, making it about on par with the deal at Warner Bros. TV made for “ER” executive producer John Wells. When the film and TV components and “The X-Files” profit advances are factored in, sources say Carter could take home more than $100 million.
Neither 20th nor Carter would comment on terms of the deal. “Chris has accomplished what most other artists spend their entire lives only dreaming about,” said Sandy Grushow, president of 20th Century Fox TV. “He unleashed a landmark, not just for his time, but for all times.”
Carter told Daily Variety, “I feel terrific. It’s nice to have a home.”
‘Harsh Realm’ series?
Carter’s next series for fall 1999 is likely to be a sci-fi drama based on a comic book called “Harsh Realm,” which Carter is expected to write and Dan Sackheim (“The X-Files”) will direct, Carter said.
While there’s a good chance Carter’s first new project will inherit the “Millennium” timeslot, sources say Fox is considering at some point using a new Chris Carter drama to open up the Sunday 10 p.m. timeslot after “The X-Files.” Such a plan would require extensive talks with Fox affiliates and could be years away, though.
Fox would actually like Carter to develop a second new drama for next fall, if he has the time, but Carter called that “wishful thinking.”
“There are other things I want to do,” he said. “But it’s really about the workload and not forsaking the shows that are already dear to me.”
Carter’s feature deal with 20th Century Fox makes a reality Fox’s desire to turn “The X-Files” into a feature film franchise, much like “Star Trek” is for Paramount. This summer’s “X-Files” feature has earned nearly $150 million in worldwide grosses, and sources say “The X-Files” stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson have already agreed to star in the next feature, intended for a 2000 release.
Carter joined 20th in 1992, and his deal resulted in one of the company’s most-profitable franchises and earned him multiple Emmy nominations for his writing and directing on “The X-Files.” As it enters its fifth season, “The X-Files” is still Fox’s highest-rated series, and its value to News Corp. is estimated more than $1 billion.
“Chris has created a true brand name that enlivens every sector of this company,” said Peter Chernin, chairman and CEO of the Fox Group and president and chief operating officer of News Corp. “From the small screen and silver screen to home video, retail shelves and beyond, ‘The X-Files’ is a cultural phenomenon that we have proudly and successfully exploited throughout the global marketplace.” The Carter deal was brokered by Broder Kurland Webb Uffner and attorneys Bruce Ramer and Lawrence Rose.