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New Book Alleges NBC Pushed Steve Carell Out the Door on ‘The Office’

The Office has become the de facto background noise sitcom on Netflix after the streamer let the rights to superior shows like 30 Rock, Frasier and How I Met Your Mother lapse. There has been an uproar about it being pulled and moving to NBC’s streaming service Peacock at the end of the year, but people will probably just move on to Community, New Girl or Parks and Recreation once it’s gone.

Still, there’s been a lot of discussion of The Office in the current zeitgeist and everyone agrees the show got weird and much worse after Steve Carell left in the seventh season. You’re never going to run into a single, solitary person who says “Man, The Office got so much better after Steve Carell left.”

A new behind-the-scenes book by Andy Greene called The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s (a title that’s really overselling it. I mean, it’s good, but 30 Rock started in 2006) alleges that NBC pushed Carell out when he was willing to stay.

Via Collider:

“He didn’t want to leave the show. He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years. He was willing to and his agent was willing to. But for some reason, they didn’t contact him. I don’t know if it was a game of chicken or what… 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. So his agent was like, ‘Well, I guess they don’t want to renew you for some reason.’ Which was insane to me. And to him, I think.”

That just makes no sense to me. That excerpt was related by hairstylist Kim Ferry, and the boom operator for the show, Brian Wittle, said that Carell floated leaving after the seventh season and none of the producers tried to stop him. Casting director Allison Jones recalled the events around Carell’s departure in much the same way.

“As I recall, he was going to do another season and then NBC, for whatever reason, wouldn’t make a deal with him… Somebody didn’t pay him enough. It was absolutely asinine. I don’t know what else to say about that. Just asinine.”

So yeah, the reason Steve Carell left The Office, causing the show to flail around and flounder rudderless for two seasons before being mercy-killed, is that NBC just never offered him an extension on his contract. I would say it was their biggest mistake of the era, but they also passed on Modern Family the year before that. Good job boys, I’m sure Peacock will be a rousing success with those instincts behind it.

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