“Bones” Stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz Sue Fox

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Stars of the hit show “Bones” on Fox are suing the network, claiming they were cheated out of millions of dollars. Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, as well as executive producer Kathy Reichs, the anthropologist whose life story loosely inspired the show, filed the suit this week against 21st Century Fox, Fox Entertainment Group, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, and Fox Broadcasting.

Each of the stars–Deschanel and Boreanaz–have contracts that entitle them to three percent of the series’ profits, while Reichs’ contract entitles her to five percent. All three are claiming that Fox employed tricks such as claiming the show was running a deficit, despite its status as the longest broadcast drama on the network, to avoid paying them that money.

The plaintiffs additionally claim that Fox allowed affiliates to license the series for below-market rates without consulting them, which reduced the amount of money they could earn. The plaintiffs additionally allege that Fox misrepresented or hid key documents in the process, and “failure to offset production charges with product-placement revenue.” The plaintiffs claim that many of these revelations came to light when they exercised their rights to request an audit; that audit discovered more than 20 different accounting violations.

Finally, they claim that when Fox entered into contracts with them for the fifth and sixth seasons:

It did so under the threat of cancelling the series unless plaintiffs accepted its non-negotiable license fee figure, and then concealed information about the true value of that figure.

All said and done, the three claim that Fox’s practices led to them being “cheated out of more than $100 million in gross revenues and being overcharged many additional millions of dollars in alleged expenses.”

Deschanel, Boreanaz, and Reichs aren’t the only ones who are having issues with the way they were compensated by Fox for “Bones.” Barry Josephson, another executive producer on the show filed a similar suit last week, making the same claims about Fox’s accounting practices.

Currently “Bones” is still airing, but it’s unclear whether or not this lawsuit will affect the show’s future. The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial as well as a real and punitive damages, so that could keep everyone wrapped up for a while. So, “Bones” fans, you may be seeing drama in the courtroom, rather than on the TV moving forward.

Anneliese Mahoney
Anneliese Mahoney is Managing Editor at Law Street and a Connecticut transplant to Washington D.C. She has a Bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University, and a passion for law, politics, and social issues. Contact Anneliese at



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