has shed new light on the possible reason for Steve Carell’s departure from the NBC sitcom.According to Collider, interviews with creators, writers, and actors from the sitcom, published in Andy Greene’s new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, appear to suggest that the network’s ambivalence over Carell’s contract played a part in the lead star’s exit from the show.In one untold story, boom operator/sound mixer Brian Wittle claimed that Carell realised that it was time to hang up Michael Scott’s business suit after he haphazardly mentioned that Season 7 of The Office would probably be his “last year,” during an interview with the BBC in April 2010, and received no reaction from those connected to the series.
“He didn’t plan on saying it out loud and he hadn’t decided anything,” Wittle admitted. “He was kind of thinking out loud, but he did it in an interview in public and it created news. Then what he said was the people connected to the show had no reaction to it. They didn’t call and say, ‘What? You wanna leave?’ He said he didn’t get any kind of response from them.
“When he realized he didn’t get any kind of response from them, he thought, ‘Oh, maybe they don’t really care if I leave. Maybe I should go do other things.’ So I think that made it easier, because when the news broke that he was considering it, the people that are in charge of keeping him there didn’t make a big effort to do so until afterward.”Further on in the pages of the book, hairstylist Kim Ferry supported Wittle’s account of events, saying that Carell had actually told NBC that “he was going to sign for another couple of years,” but for one reason or another, network executives “didn’t contact him” back.
“I don’t know if it was a game of chicken or what,” she explained. “He planned on staying on the show. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract for a couple years. So all of that was willing and ready and, on their side, honest. And the deadline came for when they were supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn’t make him an offer.”
It seems it was never made clear why Carell didn’t hear anything back about a contract extension, though it reportedly came at a time when NBC changed presidents from Jeff Zucker to Bob Greenblatt, who, producer Randy Cordray recalls in the book, “was not as big a fan of The Office.” However, Greenblatt added, “I think Steve was already departing the show when I arrived. I couldn’t do anything about that since it preceded me.”
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Nevertheless, as one office door closes, another one opens; Greenblatt has since discussed the idea of rebooting The Office, saying that it could be possible, though it is unlikely to be with the full original cast. While no official talks have taken place as of yet, John Krasinski, who played Jim Halpert in the sitcom, said he is open to the idea of reprising his role.
With TV revival culture not just taking hold, but attracting huge audiences, it seems fairly likely that we might see some more of the small screen’s beloved shows return to the air in the near future. For now, though, check out our list of the best and worst revivals so far.
Adele Ankers is a Freelance Entertainment Journalist. You can reach her on Twitter.