LOS ANGELES - After nine seasons and countless conspiracies, The X-Files will finish its run on Fox at the end of this season, series creator Chris Carter says.
"This has been an incredible decade of my life," he says.
The show has taken a hit in the ratings this season, the first not to feature David Duchovny as Agent Fox Mulder, whose dogged pursuit of the conspiracy to hide alien life from the people drove the show's mythology for much of its run. Duchovny appeared in only half of last season's episodes, and sued producer 20th Century Fox TV over his share of profits from syndication sales.
Ratings for The X-Files, once one of Fox's strongest performers, have slipped somewhat this season as the focus has shifted away from Mulder and Scully to newer characters Doggett (Robert Patrick) and Reyes (Annabeth Gish). The show is averaging only about 8.7 million viewers each week; last season it routinely drew 13 million to 14 million per episode.
Fox chairman Sandy Grushow says the network "respects Chris' wishes to end the show this season.
"He has devoted 10 years of his life to his creation," Grushow says. "We are incredibly proud to have been home to the series and are truly grateful for our partnership with Chris Carter."
The show's fans, some of the most devoted in all of television, reacted to the announcement with a mix of "sorrow and relief," as one post on the show's official site, thexfiles.com, put it. Many believed the show's run should have ended with Duchovny's exit, if not sooner.
"Thank you to TXF for years of chills, thrills, joys and heartache," another fan wrote. "It's been a pleasure (seasons 8 and 9 notwithstanding) to be a Phile."
Carter tells The Hollywood Reporter that he will try to wrap up the series' many loose ends by the final episode, the show's 201st.
Carter also says he'd like to bring Duchovny back for the finale, but he hasn't spoken with the actor about it yet.