TV Notes

Stranger Than…

Chris Carter, the creator of “The X-Files” is used to dealing in strange realities; this season he has created another in the new series “Harsh Realm,” which has its premiere this Friday night at 9.

So if any producer could deal with the strangeness of working on a show with a star, David Duchovny, who is suing his network, and who, in his suit, accused Mr. Carter of accepting “hush money,” it is probably the man who made millions of viewers try to figure out the “mythology” of “The X-Files.”

In a telephone news conference yesterday to publicize the new series, Mr. Carter said that far from having any difficulty working with Mr. Duchovny, he had actually written a script with him this year.

“We’re doing great work on the initial episode,” Mr. Carter said. “The only issues are about the quality of the work.”

Mr. Duchovny sued Fox over its decision to sell reruns of “The X-Files” to its own cable network FX rather than put them up for sale to the highest bidder. Mr. Duchovny charged that this deprived him of millions of dollars he would have been entitled to. In the suit, Mr. Duchovny accused Mr. Carter (though he was not included as a defendant) of conspiring with Fox and taking millions for himself for not complaining about the insider deal Fox made for the repeats.

If any of this concerned Mr. Carter, he made no indication of it yesterday. He said the big issue concerning “The X-Files,” which is in its seventh season, was whether the show would end its run this season. Amid rumors that the stars will not return, Mr. Carter said nothing was final.

But he said the decision would have to come by December to allow time to prepare episodes to wrap up the series and set up what he called a series of “X-Files” movies that he still plans to make with the show’s current stars, Mr. Duchovny and Gillian Anderson.

“The X-Files” doesn’t begin its new season until Nov. 7. But if the show does exit in May, Mr. Carter may try to lay claim to its 9 P.M. Sunday time period for his new series, “Harsh Realm.”

He and Frank Spotnitz, his closest producing and writing partner, provided an elaborate explanation of the show yesterday, which involves a duplicate world in the form of a digital war game. As Mr. Carter explained it, there are characters who parallel people in the real world, portals to the real world with the digital version. And yes, it will have its own mythology.

The show is occupying the same time period where “The X-Files” began and where it first built a cult following. Mr. Carter always liked the show’s being broadcast on Fridays, where, he said, “You have to build an audience, you can’t steal one.”

In fact, he said, he had opposed Fox’s decision to move “The X-Files” to Sunday night. Now he said he realizes, “The show would never have been as popular without that move.”

So, if it shows life on Fridays, could “Harsh Realm” slide comfortably into the old “X-Files” slot on Sundays? It’s certainly a thought, Mr. Carter said, though he added, “I know Fox is still trying to find a way to keep ‘The X-Files’ on for another year.”

 
 
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