The saga of the future of The X-Files -- is it moving or isn't it -- is taking on Kenneth Starr-like proportions as the rumour mill continues to churn away.
Creator and executive producer Chris Carter has never said with certainty that production of the show is moving to Los Angeles from Vancouver, despite published reports in TV Guide and this week's Entertainment Weekly that the move is a fait accompli.
Carter is reportedly working on a plan to keep the popular series in Vancouver, but won't lay odds on whether that's possible.
Word that young Vancouver actor Chris Owens has signed a contract with the series to play a prominent, potentially long-term role as an FBI agent -- beginning with a two-part episode to air later month -- has sparked renewed speculation that David Duchovny could be about to leave the show.
Neither Carter nor Owens could be reached Monday for comment.
Owens previously appeared in an episode in which he played a younger incarnation of the Cigarette-Smoking Man character played by veteran Vancouver actor William Davis.
Duchovny is under contract for another two years, and will appear in The X-Files movie this summer. He has said, however, that he would rather leave the show than spend any more time away from his wife, actress Tea Leoni, who works in Los Angeles.
A move may not be as imminent as once believed. For one thing, the costs -- $2.6 million per episode -- could balloon to $4 million if the show is produced in L.A. Multiply the difference by 24 -- the number of episodes in a standard TV season -- and the cost of a move becomes prohibitive.
Tom Crowe, community affairs manager for the B.C. Film Commission, says Carter is clearly trying to be as diplomatic as possible under the circumstances.
"I think that Chris Carter has been nothing but very gracious throughout this whole process -- with everybody," Crowe said. "He has worked very hard to try and create a win-win situation for all parties, whether that be David Duchovny or his crew.
"He's in a tight situation. We're hearing a lot of rumours about The X-Files, too, but nobody will know for sure until next year, obviously."