Serious Downsizing at 'The Office'
Reports: Toby and Kelly to follow Dwight and Robert out the door
If "The Office" returns for a ninth season -- and that's apparently a big if -- NBC's number-one-rated sitcom will be short-staffed on familiar regulars.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Paul Lieberstein -- who currently heads the writing staff, produces and co-stars in the show as submissive HR director Toby Flanderson -- wants to leave the series to join "The Farm" as co-creator. This is the widely reported NBC spin-off that, if successful, will transplant Rainn Wilson's cantankerous Dwight Schrute from "The Office" to the Schrute family bed, breakfast and beet farm. (A test run for the series is expected as an "Office" episode later this season.)
The latest news comes two months after FOX green-lighted a pilot from Mindy Kaling, a reportedly "Bridget Jones-esque" comedy which -- if picked up -- would probably spell the end for her Kelly Kapoor character.
Unfortunately, the potential downsizing goes deeper. Veteran and integral cast members John Krasinski (Jim Halpert) and Jenna Fisher (Pam Halpert) have yet to extend their contracts past this season. Neither has Ed Helms, whose Andy Bernard character slipped into the irreplaceable district-managing shoes of Michael Scott when Steve Carrell split at the end of Season 7. (One thing Helms has signed himself on for, however, is the role of potential love interest on Kaling's pilot, which will reportedly also star "Saturday Night Live" funnyman Bill Hader.)
The only obvious plug for this potentially massive casting hole is Ricky Gervais, co-creator of "The Office" and progenitor of the Michael Scott character in his sitcom's earlier British incarnation. But there is no apparent interest there. According to this New York Times report, Gervais tweeted on Thursday, March 22: "I can't do this AND take over as archbishop." (The tweet has apparently since been deleted.)
Would any of you stay tuned for an "Office" anchored by Kevin, Stanley and Ryan?
"The Office" airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.
Why not still have Dwight on the Office and then leave to go home and the next show is him in the "Farm"?? Please Jim and Pam, don't go!
Thank God Spader is gone so blah, and please lets kill off Nelly and never bring that back again!!
@Baby Trouble -- "Lets let it end while it's still on top!"
Really? On top? The Office has been on a downward spiral for about 4 years now.
Yes, actors are replaceable. Stanely and Kevin are actually two of the best characters. The problem with people getting famous is that their perception of reality gets warped. That is, they don't see how great they have it and figure they can allot better. Remember Dylan from 90210? When is the last time you've seen him since he left a hit show to become a "movie star"? How about even Carrell himself? He was eagar to leave the Office and the millions in dollars he was reliably paid for his role. Where is he now? Now that he's no longer on the Office, he is largely forgotten. If he's had any films at all since he left to be a "movie star", they must have been stinkers because I haven't heard a peep about him in the last year.
I've watched the Office since it first started and was worried that when Carrell left it would hurt the show. Honestly, I think this has been one of the best seasons yet. I think the idea that Carrell was leaving and unhappy was affecting the show. The two seasons prior to this one were so slow, I almost stopped watching and several episodes were so bad, I turned them off. This season with Carrell gone, it seems as the cast is happier and the show has revived the fun that it had years ago,