According to a report from THR, Fox has been ordered to pay $178.7 million to the producers of the crime drama Bones following an arbitrator’s decision that the network defrauded the show of its rightful profits.
Fox had calculated that the show was causing the network to lose money, despite the fact that it made approximately half a billion dollars in its first seven seasons alone. For context, the forensic drama ran for 12 years on Fox.
Due to Fox’s analytical assessment, no profits were shared with the show’s producers or stars, including executive producer Barry Josephson, or stars David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel. The network even went so far as to threaten with the show’s cancellation if the producers did not comply with their licensing fees, despite their previous renewal commitments.
The arbitrator, Peter Lichtman, also considers the accusations that Fox withheld revenues from the team behind Bones when the hit series became available for streaming on Hulu, in which Fox owns a 30 percent stake.
As of this writing, 21st Century Fox is not contesting the actual damages of $50.2 million, but are currently attempting to void punitive damages of $128.5 million. The company explained their position in a statement to THR:
The ruling by this private arbitrator is categorically wrong on the merits and exceeded his arbitration powers. Fox will not allow this flagrant injustice, riddled with errors and gratuitous character attacks, to stand and will vigorously challenge the ruling in a court of law.
“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 Josephson’s attorney Dale Kinsella, per The Daily Beast. “This award … represents a victory … for all creative talent in the television industry.”