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There are no spooky conspiracy theories lurking behind the merchandising of Fox TV's "The X-Files"-just the mundane vehicle called brand building, employed by Twentieth Century Fox Licensing & Merchandising.

The show has spawned both typical licensed products such as T-shirts to the odd, including hand-painted statues of not-sonotable characters (which underscores how closely the show is scrutinized by its fans).

But Fox and the show's creator, Chris Carter, make sure licensing opportunities don't cheapen the brand's equity.

"We have not wanted to overproliferate the merchandising because Chris is concerned of the potential for overcommercialization," says Pat Wyatt, president of the Fox licensing arm. The "X-Files" has "been a very carefully managed brand."

The Fox unit recently created two executive marketing director posts, one of which, filled by Marc Bruderer, will now develop long-term marketing strategies for "The X-Files" property.

Two of the best-selling "X-Files" brand extensions have been its move into publishing-HarperCollins has produced titles ranging from original novels to encyclopedias about the series and paranormal phenomena-and home video, which is overseen by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Next up in Fox's marketing of "The X-Files": merchandising and promoting the property's leap onto the big screen. The first "X-Files" flick is scheduled for next summer.

"We want to reach beyond the hard-core fan base with the feature film and yet still maintain those core 'X-Files' followers," says Ms. Wyatt.

"But we do want to be careful about enlisting promo partners, because of the commercialization concerns, and because we don't want to blow all our equity in

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