The Office will have a new behind-the-scenes boss next season as Paul Lieberstein is stepping down as executive producer/showrunner. He is expected to land a hand while he preps the potential spinoff series starring Rainn Wilson, The Farm, which he co-created, but a search is under way for a new showrunner to take the reins of the veteran comedy series next season. Meanwhile, conversations continue with key Office cast members John Krasinski, Ed Helms, Jenna Fischer and B.J. Novak, who have no deals beyond this season, though I hear that they have stalled for the moment. Locking in as many actors of the core quartet as possible is critical for the future of the series in light of the potential departures of Wilson, who would segue onto the spinoff series sometime next season, and Mindy Kaling, who has a pilot in the running at Fox. Additionally, this season’s addition James Spader recently announced he will be leaving in May.
‘The Office’ Showrunner Paul Lieberstein Preps His Exit As Return Of Key Cast Members Still In Limbo
The Office executive producer/showrunner said today that James Spader will not return to the NBC comedy next season. The actor, who parlayed a two-scene appearance at the end of last season as Robert California into a full-season gig, had only signed a one-year deal. “James always wanted this to be a one year arc, and he now leaves us having created one of the most enigmatic and dynamic characters in television,” Lieberstein said. “He’s been a great friend to me and the show, helping us successfully transition into the post-Michael Scott years, and I’m grateful for that.”
EXCLUSIVE: Dwight Schrute may finally be off to greener pastures… literally. I hear that NBC is working on an Office spinoff starring Rainn Wilson for a potential midseason 2013 launch. No deals have been closed yet but I’ve learned that the proposed spinoff is a family comedy, which was the brainchild of Wilson and The Office executive producer/showrunner Paul Lieberstein. It will have Dwight (Wilson) living at the Schrute family beet farm and bed & breakfast, which have been featured on the show several times, including in an episode where Jim and Pam visited Dwight there. (photos below) The potential spinoff will be introduced in an Office episode later this season set at Schrute Farms. “Paul and Rainn have been joking for years about Dwight’s life on the farm, his family and how ill-suited he is to run a B&B,” a source close to The Office said. “A while ago, it started to feel like a show to them. NBC agreed, it’s been further developed to include multiple generations, many cousins and neighbors. (It is unclear if that would include cousin Mose who has been featured on the show, played by Office alum and Parks & Recreation co-creator Mike Schur.) At its base it will be about a family farm struggling to survive and a family trying to stay together.” Wilson and Lieberstein will executive produce …
EXCLUSIVE: While the fate of the on-screen boss on NBC’s flagship comedy series The Office is still in limbo, the near future of show’s behind-the-scenes boss is set: The Office showrunner/executive producer Paul Lieberstein has signed a three-year overall deal with series producer NBC Universal Studios. Under the pact, Lieberstein will continue to run the comedy, working closely with The Office developer/executive producer Greg Daniels. Later in the life of the deal, Lieberstein’s first overall, he is expected to develop new projects. But for the time being, he will be focused entirely on The Office, which is undergoing a major transition following the recent departure of original star Steve Carell. “This show has changed my life,” Lieberstien said. “As a writer I’ve never felt so creatively fulfilled, I really feel like I’m writing exactly what I’ve wanted to write in terms of exploring everyday life. And it made me an actor, which I never suspected I’d do.”
Lieberstein, who plays Human Resources Director Toby Flenderson on The Office, became an accidental actor as part of an experiment by Daniels, who felt that the writers on the show would do a better job writing for the cast if they themselves experienced what it is like to be an actor with bit guest parts on the show. Lieberstein appeared in the second episode in a stint that was never meant to go further. But when then-NBC Entertainment president Kevin Reilly saw dailies from the episode, “he thought I was funny and wanted more of me,” Lieberstein said.
EXCLUSIVE: Will Ferrell has committed to a four-episode arc on NBC’s comedy The Office. He will play a branch manager who comes from the home office and is just as inappropriate as Steve Carell’s Michael Scott character. NBC is still figuring out exactly when the episodes will air, but Ferrell has committed to one episode beyond Carell’s finale, to help create a bridge.
Ferrell called the producers, offering his services because he’s a fan and wanted to commemorate Carell’s swan song by taking part in The Office star’s seventh and final season on the show. Ferrell and Carell are close friends who co-starred in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. The stint brings Ferrell back to NBC, where he launched his career on Saturday Night Live. Additionally, he has done arcs on such series as NBC’s 30 Rock and HBO’s Eastbound & Down, which he also produces.
“We found Steve Carell when he was nothing but a movie star and we turned him into a television star,” said The Office exec producer Paul Lieberstein (who doubles as the annoying Dunder Mifflin HR executive Toby Flenderson, Michael Scott’s arch-nemesis. “We are proud to continue The Office’s tradition of discovering famous talent, and we hope that once America gets a good look at Will, they’ll see what we see, tremendous raw sexuality.”