Fox “Cheated” ‘Bones’ Stars Out Of More Than $100M, New Profit-Participation Suit Claims

Just days after EP Barry Josephson sued Fox over profit participation and sketchy accounting practices, Bones stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz and EP Kathleen Reichs now are going after the broadcaster too for “tens of millions” they claim they are owed.

Bones’ longevity has made it a cash cow for Fox,” said the plaintiffs of the currently 11-season show in a remarkable 8-claim complaint filed today in L.A. Superior Court (read it here). The lawsuit from the actors and the producer upon whose novels the procedural is based strikes a lot of the same self-dealing, artificially low license fees and shell-game revenue stream points as Josephson did in his November 25 suit. To be specific to their situation, Deschanel and Boreanaz say that under their deals with Fox they are “each contractually entitled to a 3% share of Series profits.” Reichs was supposed to receive 5% — money their breach-of-contract lawsuit says they haven’t received.

“Plaintiffs bring this action to enforce their rights to these payments that they are rightfully owed, which they estimate to collectively exceed tens of millions of dollars,” Deschanel, Boreanaz and Reichs say in their action against 21st Century Fox, Fox Entertainment Group, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation and Fox Broadcasting Company. The trio are seeking a variety of unspecified damages, a full accounting, a court order enforcing their contractual rights and a trust set up to disperse the money – if they get anything.

The current season of Bones debuted on October 1 and is expected back on the air on December 10 after several weeks of pre-emptions unrelated to these lawsuits. Like with Josephson’s action, Fox had no comment in response to today’s lawsuit.

“The documents that 20th TV did provide confirmed Plaintiffs’ suspicions and showed that they were being cheated out of more than $100 million in gross revenues and being overcharged many additional millions of dollars in alleged expenses,” the jury-trial complaint adds of the plaintiffs fight to get a look at true accounting of Bones after not getting anything in profits for several seasons

“When 20th TV finally did engage with Plaintiffs in the fifth and sixth seasons of the Series, it did so under the threat of cancelling the Series unless Plaintiffs accepted its non-negotiable license fee figure, and then concealed material information about the true value of that figure,” Monday’s filing asserts, again in specifics very similar to what Josephson stated in his own complaint last week — all of which might see these cases share the same judge or jury if the courts think that they are related enough.

Deschanel, Boreanaz and Reichs are represented by John Berlinski, Mansi Shah and Candace Frazier of the LA office of Kasowitz Benson Torres and Friedman LLP.

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