Fox Ordered to Pay $179 Million for ‘Bones’ Studio Fraud

Fox has been ordered to pay nearly $200 million to producers of the popular show Bones after an arbitrator concluded that the network defrauded them of their rightful profits, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The award amounts to the second-largest in the television industry’s history. The ruling concludes that Fox executives lied and committed fraud at the expense of the show’s stars and executive producer Barry Josephson. The show—which ran on the Fox network from 2005 to 2017—took in nearly half a billion dollars in its first seven seasons. Despite these profits, Fox calculated Bones to be a money loser, meaning no profits were shared with Josephson and others. Among a litany of allegedly fraudulent actions, the studio also threatened to cancel the series unless producers signed releases barring them from challenging sweetheart licensing fees, according to the report. However, Fox had already committed to keep the show on the air and knew that the series’ stars would never sign such a release, according to 21st Century Fox President Peter Rice. Nevertheless, the Fox network kept up the impression the stars would sign, even going so far as to include blank signature spaces for the actors in the releases sent to producers.

“Fox’s fraudulent conduct toward the series’ creators and stars, perpetrated over many years, has finally been brought to light, and Fox has been held accountable for its actions,” said Dale Kinsella, an attorney representing Josephson. “This award... represents a victory... for all creative talent in the television industry.”