- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2000

LOS ANGELES - FBI agent Fox Mulder will continue his quest for the truth and alien invaders next season on "The X-Files."

Series star David Duchovny, who was wrangling over his contract and a lawsuit he filed in connection with the show, has agreed to return for an eighth year.

"I am pleased we were able to come to an agreement that enables me to remain part of 'The X-Files,' " Mr. Duchovny said in a statement yesterday. "Now that all the business issues have been settled, I'm looking forward to going back to work."

Gillian Anderson, his co-star in the Fox series about FBI agents on the trail of supernatural forces and space aliens, already was under contract. Chris Carter, the series' creator and executive producer, struck a deal for another year earlier this week.

Mr. Duchovny's announcement, which came the day before Fox Broadcasting Co. was to announce its fall schedule in New York, was greeted with enthusiasm by Mr. Carter. He had said previously he could produce the show without Mr. Duchovny but preferred not to do that.

"I'm very pleased, and I think with the season finale cliffhanger it creates great possibilities to take the show in new directions," Mr. Carter said.

The show wraps up this season on Sunday.

Mr. Duchovny, who had been seeking a less grueling work schedule as well as more money, will not be in every episode for the 2000-01 season, Mr. Carter said.

He said it would be "jumping the gun" to speculate whether the show, a mainstay of Fox's schedule, will be back for a ninth year.

The negotiations with Mr. Duchovny had been complicated by his lawsuit against 20th Century Fox Film Corp. The suit claimed Fox gave its own stations sweetheart deals on "The X-Files" reruns when the program should have been sold to the highest bidder.

The result, the suit alleged, was that Mr. Duchovny was underpaid on the series' profits. The actor had said he would not return to the show unless the suit was settled.

A spokesman for the actor said he could not expand on Mr. Duchovny's statement.

Mr. Carter said he expected the legal dispute to be a non-issue when filming resumes.

"I work with real professionals, and the work has always come before any personal feelings," he said.

The series, which made stars and magazine cover favorites out of Mr. Duchovny and Miss Anderson, led to a successful "X-Files" movie that Fox and Mr. Carter expect to be part of a continuing franchise.

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