The Office Closes Its Doors: The Cast Spills on Spin-Offs, Steve Carell's Exit and Season 8
Steve Carell | Photo Credits: Chris Haston/NBC
In the third part of our goodbye to The Office, the cast and producers open up about the tough loss of the World's Best Boss Michael Scott, aka series star Steve Carell. After rising from network underdog to Best Comedy Series Emmy winner in Season 2, The Office solidified its status as one of the top comedies on TV. In 2007, NBC moved the series to its prized Thursday-at-9 timeslot. The following year, the network hand-picked The Office to air immediately following Super Bowl XLIII. However, the show was about to face a huge blow.
TVGuide.com spoke to stars Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute), Jenna Fischer (Pam Beesly-Halpert), Angela Kinsey (Angela Martin), Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez), Kate Flannery (Meredith Palmer), Ellie Kemper (Erin Hannon), Jake Lacy (Pete Campbell), producer and director Ken Kwapis, and executive producers Greg Daniels, Ben Silverman and Mike Schur about The Office's long, strange trip from British underground hit to America's favorite workplace. This is the third in a four-part series. Check out Part 1 and Part 2.
The Office executive producer Ben Silverman was named the president of NBC Entertainment in 2007, and talks about a spin-off soon began.
Mike Schur: NBC knew that there was value in a spin-off in the sense that The Office was a huge hit and the characters were so well-known and there were so many of them. They felt like you could take a character from The Office world and build a new show around them without doing a lot of damage. ... Greg had approached me about developing a new show in the middle of Season 4 and at the time, Ben Silverman had gone to Greg. He had the idea to do a spin-off and Greg had sort of said to him, "I would love to develop a new show, but I can't say it's going to be a spin-off because I haven't even thought about what it would be yet." ... Greg is a very thorough person and we came up with, and rejected, 50 ideas for the show, some of which were spin-offs and some of which weren't.
Rainn Wilson: There was talk of both a Dwight spin-off and an Andy spin-off, but neither of those really had much traction.
Schur: Then it got announced to the press that there was going to be an Office spin-off, which was not great because, as Greg and I were working on the new show, the term spin-off is one that doesn't leave the public consciousness quickly.
Although not a spin-off, Parks and Recreation employed a similar single-camera, mockumentary feel to The Office and even brought on Office vet Rashida Jones as a series regular.
Schur: From the moment that we said this is the idea that we really thought was great and that it wasn't going to be a spin-off, NBC was nothing but supportive.
Talks about a spin-off picked up again during Season 8.
Wilson: I was really kind of ready to end Dwight at that point, but I just loved the idea so much. I loved the idea of a rural show on a farm and the amazing characters and situations you could get into. And I also liked the idea of Dwight kind of changing — not just being the supporting weird guy, but being the center of the show. How does he need to grow and mature to be that lead in the same way that Frasier had to kind of grow and mature to be the lead of his show?
Schur: Rainn is a great, great screen presence and I think it made a lot of sense to try him. When Greg and I were first thinking about potential spin-offs, Rainn was an obvious person to think about because he's a comedy force.