“X-FILES” creator Chris Carter is fuming that Fox TV chief Doug Herzog canned his new sci-fi show “Harsh Realm” after only a few episodes.
Now, the conflict has clouded the already uncertain future of the “X-Files.”
“I don’t think that the man who is running the network now got the show or even watched it,” Carter told The Post yesterday. “Someone over there made the decision [to yank it]. [Herzog] was the one that delivered the message – so I blame the messenger.”
“Harsh Realm,” a military-themed series set in a virtual reality world, struggled to find viewers since its debut on Oct. 8.
The bad situation was the result of Fox not heavily promoting “Realm,” Carter claims – not its murky storyline that some TV critics labeled as confusing.
“The ratings weren’t great,” Carter admitted, “but ‘Harsh Realm’ was never considered on any other merit.”
Fox “decided to put all their eggs into other baskets,” Carter said. “The viewer awareness, which had been very high early in the summer, had slipped to a pathetically low number – people just didn’t know the show was on.
“I guess [canceling it] was a quick way of trying to stop the bleeding of a much larger wound,” Carter said.
“I have enormous respect for Chris Carter’s work, and I regret as much as he does the failure of ‘Harsh Realm,’” Herzog responded to Carter’s accusations. “But I do believe our ongoing discussions with Chris are best conducted in private, not in the press.”
Meanwhile, the seventh – and what may very well be the final – season of the “X-Files” kicks off Sunday night, picking up where last season left off: FBI agent Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) has gone crazy and is locked away in a padded cell, while his partner, Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson), is in Africa looking at what appears to be a spaceship hidden underwater near a beach.
But the series’ season premier is overshadowed by a slew of behind-the-scenes problems. Both Carter’s and Duchovny’s contracts expire this year – Anderson has one more year on hers – and Duchovny is suing Fox and Carter for allegedly selling the “X-Files” syndication rights to other Fox-owned stations at bargain-basement prices.
“We just haven’t spoken about business,” Carter said, pointing out that despite their differences, the two successfully collaborated on writing an upcoming episode.
“A lawsuit creates its own environment; it’s just a little different,” Carter said.
Also, neither Carter nor anyone else on the show has been told yet if it will return next year.
“We know where we’re headed,” Carter said. “We’re talking about a pivotal two-part episode arc that would air in February that would lead us to the end.”
The scope and meaning of the arc will depend on Fox’s decision on keeping the show on the air, Carter said.