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The Real Reason The Stars Of Bones Sued The Show

Throughout its 12-season, 245-episode primetime run on Fox, "Bones" ranked among the goriest and shamelessly goofy shows on television, and it's legacy continues to live on many years after it finished airing. The series, which ran from 2005 to 2017, is a compelling procedural drama that merely tempers its bloody, D.C. area tales of murder and mayhem with occasional bouts of gore and gags. At the center of almost every single investigation are the brilliant minds of Forensic Anthropologist Temperance "Bones" Brennan and FBI Special Agent Seely Booth, played by Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz, respectively.

But surprisingly, it seems that Deschanel and Boreanaz's full run in the show very nearly wasn't the case, as the "Bones" stars actually filed a lawsuit against Fox in 2015 that many thought might derail the series moving forward. They did so alongside Kathy Reichs, who wrote the novels that inspired "Bones," seeking millions in damages. Here's why Deschanel and Boreanaz sued the show that helped make them household names. 

Deschanel and Boreanaz felt they weren't getting properly compensated

As is often the case in such circumstances, fair compensation was indeed at the center of Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz's lawsuit against Fox. Unlike many similar cases, however, the "Bones" stars were not merely looking for a per episode raise for their work in the show. As reported by TVLine in 2015, the duo were instead seeking to ensure Fox executives lived up to their contractual agreement to pay the series' headliners (who also served as executive producers) 3% of all profits generated by the show, including syndication and licensing fees.

Per The Hollywood Reporter, these particular fees were the basis of Deschanel and Boreanaz's complaint, as they believed that Fox was not being forthright about how they were charging affiliates, and particularly the streaming platform Hulu, to air episodes of "Bones." To their credit, the actors continued working on "Bones" for several years as the case played out in courts. Per the same THR report, Deschanel and Boreanaz were vindicated — and then some — in 2019, when an initial ruling came down in their favor to the tune of $179 million. 

On appeal, that number was trimmed to $51 million, with the parties eventually settling the matter for good by agreeing to an undisclosed sum outside of court. But any way you cut it, this was a major win for the stars of "Bones," and it will hopefully ensure others are paid what they are due by major production companies in the future.