A new book about the US edition of The Office indicates that star Steve Carell never actually wanted to leave the show.
Carell stepped down from his role playing Michael Scott in the hit sitcom after the show’s seventh season aired in 2011.
Andy Greene’s new book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s features interviews with many crew members from the show, and, as Collider point out, it didn’t seem like Carell always planned on leaving the show when he did.
Sound mixer Brian Wittle and hairstylist Kim Ferry were both interviewed, saying that Carell accidentally let slip that he might leave after Season 7 in an interview, though hadn’t made up his mind, and felt forced to go through with his exit after the show’s network NBC made no effort for him to stay.
“He didn’t want to leave the show,” Ferry said. “He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract. And the deadline came for when [the network was] 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.”
Casting director Allison Jones added: “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.”
Hairstylist Ferry says that Carell told NBC that he “[didn’t] want to leave”. “It just is mind-boggling how that happened. And I feel bad because I think a lot of people think he did leave the show on his own merit and it’s absolutely not true. I’m telling you. I was there. He really wanted to stay. And it devastated all of us because he was the heart of our show.”
The Office ended after its ninth season in 2013 – over the past few years, rumours have begun of a reunion for the show, with the chairman of NBC entertainment, Robert Greenblatt, revealing that he has been in contact with the show’s creator, Greg Daniels, about a potential new season.