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
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.