Last may, Steve Carell announced his intention to leave "The Office" after the seventh season. And it now looks like his departure will come much sooner than that.
During an interview with New York Magazine’s Vulture Blog, "The Office" showrunner Paul Lieberstein confirmed that Carell’s clueless boss, Michael Scott will be leaving about a month before the end of the season.
"Steve will have a number of episodes that dramatize and lead up to Steve leaving," said Lieberstein. "Then we’ll continue on for about four more episodes, and the spring will prove to be not about an actor leaving, but what happens in an office when a manager leaves and the chaos ensues and people vie for the job and are uncertain about their future."
"It was about focusing the spring on the office and everybody else, and not just a character going," explained Lieberstein. "If the show was ending, it would be about that. But it’s not."
Lieberstein also indicated that Kathy Bates will return for a few episodes as Jo Bennett, the CEO of Dunder-Mifflin’s parent company while a replacement for Michael is sought. And the new boss may potentially come from within the company or from someone new entirely.
"We are talking about guest stars [vying for the position]" said Lieberstein. Head writer Daniel Chun also hinted that Mindy Kaling’s Kelly make her own attempt to take over. "Now that she has executive training, she’s going to want that job," related Chun. "At least in her own mind, she deserves to be a manager."
"People who aren’t necessarily qualified to be the boss are sometimes put in positions that management hopes they grow into," offered Kaling. "And the boss [doesn’t have] to be the starring role. Most shows are about all the underlings. I could see a world where Kelly becomes the boss, and it’s not a show about Kelly."
Lieberstein also indicated that Darryl (Craig Robinson), Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Andy (Ed Helms) would be in the running for the top job as well.
"This time last year there was probably a lot of dread," related Lieberstein. "But right now there’s a lot of excitement. We’re having the kinds of conversations we had in seasons one and two about, ‘What is the show?’ It feels like we … can really influence the show in a way we couldn’t last year. It feels really cool."