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A Real Life Conspiracy?

David Duchovny, co-star of the hit TV series The X-Files, is suing 20th Century Fox alleging the studio cheated him out of millions of dollars in profits from the show.

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles, alleges that Fox sold various rights to The X-Files at below market rates. Duchovny charges the internal syndication deal, which involved Fox subsidiaries such as the Fox broadcast network and the FX cable channel, reduced the show's profitability and devalued his share of its earnings. The suit accuses Fox of "corporate greed" for not seeking the most competitive deal possible.

The 39 year-old actor also alleges that series creator and executive producer, Chris Carter, conspired with Fox to cover up the dealings. He claims Carter was paid $4 million in hush money and given a deal for the new series Harsh Realm in exchange for his cooperation. Carter, however, is not named as a defendant in the case.

Daily Variety reports Duchovny is seeking at least $25 million in damages, though the suit does not mention a specific sum.

The X-Files is about to enter its seventh season and it has long been rumored that it would be the show's last. Both Duchovny and Carter's contracts expire at the end of the 1999-2000 season, but the show's other lead, Gillian Anderson, has been signed for an additional year. Whether or not the series will continue into an eighth year with Anderson as its sole lead remains to be seen.

Duchovny and Anderson have both expressed an interest in continuing to make feature films reprising their roles as FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully after the TV show has gone off the air. It's not clear what effect the lawsuit will have on any future X-Files projects.