David Duchovny has agreed to return next season in News Corp.-owned Fox's "The X-Files," ending a flurry of intense last-minute negotiations and legal wrangling.
However, Duchovny, who stars as FBI Special Agent Fox Mulder, will appear in only half of the season's 22 episodes, sources said. Mulder will be abducted in this Sunday's season finale, and his partner, FBI Special Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) will spend the first part of the season looking for him. Scully will be paired with a new partner, who has yet to be cast.
Fox is scheduled to announce Duchovny's return to the show today during the unveiling of the network's fall schedule. The actor last August sued 20th Century Fox Film Corp., producer of the edgy drama, alleging that Fox gave its broadcast stations and its FX cable channel sweetheart licensing terms rather than seeking the highest bid in a competitive auction. Details on the settlement of the lawsuit were not immediately disclosed.
The Duchovny deal comes on the heels of an announcement by "X-Files" creator and executive producer Chris Carter that he will return to the series for one more season. There had been speculation last fall about whether the series, which is Fox's top-rated drama, would continue without Duchovny or Carter.
Anderson had said last year that she was ready to move on, and that she would not return to the show beyond this season. However, the actress was under contract for one more season. Both Duchovny and Anderson have said they would like to do additional "X-Files" movies.