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EMMYS Q&A: Ricky Gervais On Netflix Underdog ‘Derek’: “I Don’t Care About The People Who Don’t ‘Get’ It”

By | Thursday June 19, 2014 @ 3:50pm PDT

EMMYS Q&A: Ricky Gervais On Netflix Underdog ‘Derek’: “I Don’t Care About The People Who Don’t ‘Get’ It”Ricky Gervais nabbed an acting Emmy for Extras and won another for producing the long-running comedy series The Office. Now he’s hoping to catch voters’ eyes and hearts with Derek, the nuanced and bittersweet series that stars Gervais as a naive caretaker in nursing home whose optimism buoys the spirits of the elderly residents and fellow workers around him. Or not. The melancholic dramedy falls outside the comedian’s more mainstream hits and has drawn mixed reviews, although Gervais says it’s the selective viewer and not a broad audience that he was hoping to capture with Derek. The show’s second season is vying in the Comedy category after debuting on Netflix in May (Season 1 was ineligible for Emmys consideration last year). As Gervais tells Deadline, this will likely be the last full season viewers see of Derek Noakes, who may appear in his own special once Gervais’ Office alter ego David Brent gets his own spin-off film.

DEADLINE: The second season of Derek is competing in the Comedy category, but it’s really more bittersweet and deeply emotional than most comedies.
RICKY GERVAIS: Well, it’s nice to try and evoke any emotion. I’ve never thought comedy just had to be knee-jerk laughs every 30 seconds, you know? But I think that’s probably why it’s slightly different than most sitcoms – it’s slightly more sincere. I think comedy, in general, is a much more intellectual pursuit as opposed to an emotional one and possibly drama is probably more emotional. But they’re all branches of the same tree. It’s a workout for your emotions. That’s what fiction is: it’s role-play for the soul.

DerekDEADLINE: The idea that shows or content or art has to be one or the other, comedy or drama, is rather reductive and only comes up during awards season, doesn’t it?
GERVAIS: Yes, it does. “What category is it in?” and that. But some people need to pigeonhole so they can sit down and enjoy it. It’s very strange. And it’s funny. I’ve had it with everything I’ve ever done. People decide what it is and then they complain that it’s not what they said it would be. It’s the same with when people try to retell a joke. They say the joke that I told, totally different, and then they say, “Isn’t that horrendous?” And I want to say, “Yes, that is horrendous. That’s not the joke I told. You at least have to say the joke I told to criticize me for it. You at least have to get every single word and comma and pacing and nuance before you can criticize it. Because in a joke, everything matters. It’s a piece of poetry, a good joke, and everything counts. So you can’t miss out a bit. You just can’t. You’re not allowed.” Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: Czech Republic Contracts ‘The Office’; ‘Ugly Betty’ In The Middle East; ‘Grace Of Monaco’ French Release Shifted

officeThe Czech Republic is about to go inside The Office. BBC Worldwide has signed a local production deal with broadcaster Czech Television for a local version of the show that will be produced in-house for channel CT1. The first six episode series goes into production in January. Ricky Gervais, co-creator of The Office UK, said, “I’m extremely flattered and excited that there is about to be a new version of The Office. Prague was the first place in the world to produce a stage version, so I’m very glad a local adaptation is coming to TV too. Cue jokes about Gervais and another fat Cheque.” The Czech version will be based on the UK show that Gervais created with Stephen Merchant and is the 9th international sale of the format. Casting for the series has begun and actor Václav Kopta is confirmed to play the lead part of Marek Chvála, aka David Brent. The Office will be renamed as Kancl, slang for office or workplace.

ugly bettySony Pictures Television has made a first deal for its Arabic version of telenovela Betty La Fea (Ugly Betty in the States) with leading pay TV network in the Middle East and North Africa, OSN, acquiring the premiere rights. The regional broadcaster has acquired all 90 episodes of the series, which will be called Hebal Regal El Ghorab (Crow’s Foot) and … Read More »

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Global Showbiz Briefs: PBS Giving U.S. Peek At ‘Downton Abbey’ Season 4; Last Of ‘The Office’ Coming To Comedy Central UK; More

By | Friday October 11, 2013 @ 10:00pm PDT

PBS To Air ‘Downton Abbey’ Recap/Preview Special Ahead Of Season 4
In an effort to appease anxious U.S. viewers, PBS is planning a behind-the-scenes special sneak peek at Downton Abbey‘s upcoming Season 4. The period drama is pulling record ratings on the UK’s ITV but doesn’t bow Stateside until January 5. So, on December 1, PBS will air Return To Downton Abbey, a recap of previous seasons and a look at the upcoming trials and tribulations of the Crawley clan. Susan Sarandon will host the special that’s set around three themes: The Changing World of Downton Abbey, The Women of Downton Abbey and Love and Other Relationships at Downton Abbey. Cast members interviewed include Michelle Dockery, Hugh Bonneville, Joanne Froggatt, Elizabeth McGovern, Jim Carter, Shirley MacLaine, Sophie McShera and Laura Carmichael. Creator Julian Fellowes and exec producers Gareth Neame and Rebecca Eaton also take part.

Final Seasons Of U.S. ‘The Office’ Coming To Comedy Central UK
Comedy Central UK is bringing the final two seasons of the U.S. version of The Office to Britain. Under a deal with NBCU International TV Distribution, Seasons 8 and 9 will air on Comedy Central starting this month. The series, based on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s original UK version, has been a staple of Comedy Central UK’s schedule and a strong performer. Read More »

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Ricky Gervais’ David Brent Teaches You How To Play Guitar — And Live For The Weekend

By | Tuesday August 27, 2013 @ 9:58pm PDT

With the U.S. version of The Office just wrapped, fans of the original Brit hit can reminisce about their lovable-loser boss courtesy of Ricky Gervais. The man who co-created the series is perpetuating the goofball inspiration for Steve Carell’s Michael Scott in a series of videos called “Learn Guitar With David Brent”. And here’s the latest, complete with NSFW title and a dissertation on why his twentysomething mates are “blown away” by him:

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TCA: ‘The Blacklist’ Star James Spader Says He Took ‘The Office’ Gig To Finance ‘Lincoln’ Role

By | Saturday July 27, 2013 @ 4:08pm PDT

The Blacklist is NBC’s best hope for the coming TV season. It’s a procedural crime drama; it stars James Spader. Heck, it’s a total CBS show. And it has been given the plum post-The Voice timeslot, Mondays at 10 — where, ironically, CBS has scheduled it’s most NBC-ish series: the super-serialized, 15-episode, Toni-Colette-starring Hostages. It’s like NBC and CBS got together and agreed to role reverse, on Mondays at 10. And yet, what TV critics wanted to talk about during The Blacklist Q&A at TCA Summer TV Press Tour 2013, was star James Spader’s haircut. And how much he will cherish his time playing Robert California on The Office. The Office gig, they were shocked to learn, was something to which he agreed for the paycheck, after playing California first in a one-off in the show’s seven-season finale.

“I had a ball doing that one episode… and two things happened,” Spader said. “I was offered Lincoln – a film everybody was doing [long pause] for very little money, and yet the commitment was going to be eight months in advance. And I had just finished doing a play in New York and need to make some money” — a job “that actually paid my bills, and lo and behold … Read More »

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EMMYS: Departed Series ‘30 Rock,’ ‘The Office,’ ‘Enlightened’ & ‘Political Animals’ Get One Last Shot At Emmy Glory

By | Thursday July 18, 2013 @ 12:11pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

It is always a bittersweet moment for cancelled series that get a final round of Emmy nominations after their final episode has aired. It was a good morning today for two long-running, award-winning NBC series, 30 Rock and The Office, which dominated the Emmy comedy race in the second half of the past decade, earning four best series trophies between them. Both received writing nominations for their series finales penned by their creators/developers, The Office‘s Greg Daniels and 30 Rock‘s Tina Fey (with Tracey Wigfield). The two comedies also will face off in the shortform nonfiction program category with features dedicated to their final cycles, The Office: The Farewells and 30 Rock: The Final Season. The seventh season of 30 Rock landed a total of 13 nominations, even with last year. That includes noms for comedy series, lead actress (Fey), lead actor (Alec Baldwin) and supporting actress (Jane Krakowski). 30 Rock is now bowing out with a perfect record, earning best series nom for each of its seven seasons. Meanwhile, The Office rebounded from a complete shutout last year to score four noms for its ninth season.

Also getting posthumous recognition are Enlightened and Political Animals. After failing to make the Emmy nominations cut for its freshman season, Mike White’s HBO dark … Read More »

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EMMYS: Comedy Farewells

By | Monday June 17, 2013 @ 9:59pm PDT

Ray Richmond is an AwardsLine contributor.

A pair of long-running NBC comedies — 30 Rock and The Office — will be attempting a rare feat this year: They’ll be trying to win a top series Emmy in their final season. Both have tasted victory in the Outstanding Comedy Series race before, The Office taking the prize in 2006 and Rock in 2007, ’08 and ’09. But winning as a last hurrah is a whole other ballgame, though it’s happened four times before: The Mary Tyler Moore Show snared the comedy series prize in 1977, Barney Miller took it in 1982, Everybody Loves Raymond carted off the comedy trophy in 2005, and The Sopranos earned the top drama series statuette in 2007. Many other long-running series have tried to generate Emmy love in their last year. A few, like Seinfeld, have even been favored. (Seinfeld lost in its final season in 1998 to Frasier, which earned its record fifth statuette in a row.) But most series fail to cart off the gold amid the perception that their best days are behind them, whether accurate or not. As one Emmy-winning producer says: “By the time a show is in its final season, it’s no longer considered fresh or cool, and voters much prefer to reward the hot new thing. It’s just … Read More »

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RATINGS RAT RACE UPDATE: ‘American Idol’ Hits All-Time Finale Low, ‘The Office’ Series Finale Up, ‘Scandal’ Finale Surges

By | Friday May 17, 2013 @ 9:34am PDT

UPDATE, 9:34 AM: Final American Idol finale numbers are in from Nielsen. While the show remains at an all-time low, it did see an expected adjustment upward. The 8-10:07 PM Idol garnered a 3.6 rating with 14.3 million viewers, which is down 44% in ratings from Season 11′s finale and down 33% in viewership. The show was up 24% from its May 8 episode.

PREVIOUSLY, 8:19 AM: Thursday saw a flurry of finales including American Idol (3.4/11) ending its 12th season with an all-time finale low and The Office closing its doors for good. Declaring a winner from the final two female contestants, the more than two-hour live Idol was down 47% in preliminary ratings from the 6.4/18 final numbers of Season 11’s finale on May 23, 2012. It’s the first Idol finale to have less than 20 million viewers. The show, which went nearly eight minutes over the hour and will likely be adjusted up in the final numbers, pulled in 13.61 million viewers from 8-10:07 PM last night. That’s nearly 8 million viewers less than the 21.5 million who watched last year’s season finale. For the first time ever, the Idol finale wasn’t even the highest-rated show of the night — the Season 6 finale of The Big Bang Theory (4.4/16) topped Thursday. Facing off in the 8-8:30 slot, Idol garnered a 2.8 in adults 18-49 against the CBS geek sitcom. Idol was also way down from the 6.0/16 rating and 17.93 million viewers of the Season 12 premiere on January 16. Thursday’s finale was up 28% in adults 18-49 over last week’s show and saw a bounce from the 11.6 million viewers who watched May 9. With 13.608 millon watching, Fox won Thursday in total viewers and adults 18-49. (See complete list of American Idol finale viewership and ratings numbers below)

Related: Anyone Care Who Won ‘American Idol’? Read More »

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SPOILER ALERT! NBC’s ‘The Office’ Finale

By | Thursday May 16, 2013 @ 9:48pm PDT

Diane Haithman is a contributor to Deadline.

The Office FinaleSPOILER ALERT! UPDATE: Steve Carell reprised his role as former Dunder Mifflin manager Michael Scott after all — appearing about 45 minutes into The Office finale to be Dwight’s “bestest mensch” (read: best man) at his wedding to Angela. After Michael unexpectedly appears, Dwight (Rainn Wilson) says: “Michael, I can’t believe you came.” His former boss replies: “That’s what she said.” Later in the episode, he tells the documentary crew: “I feel like my kids all grew up and married each other — it’s every parent’s dream.” Carell earned six Emmy noms for the role but never won. He left the series after its seventh season.

PREVIOUSLY: No, Michael Scott is not going to turn up at Dunder Mifflin on Thursday. Really. Ken Kwapis swears to Deadline [and lied to us, the asswipe - NF] that longtime star Steve Carell does not appear in this week’s series finale of The Office. “I sure wish Steve had done a cameo. It would’ve been a wonderful touch,” said Kwapis, who also directed the pilot episode of the midseason-replacement comedy that aired in March 2005. “Sadly, he didn’t.” So why did NBC choose to sneak a peek of Carell into its finale promo after last week’s episode? A spokeswoman said the network would maintain its “no comment” stance but noted the footage of the erstwhile Office manager could be a clip from an old episode. Read More »

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NBC Extends ‘The Office’ Series Finale

By | Tuesday May 7, 2013 @ 11:38am PDT

Fans of The Office will have a bit longer to say goodbye. NBC is extending the length of the final episode by 15 minutes. It will air from 9-10:15 PM on Thursday, May 16. Drama Hannibal will follow from 10:15-11 PM with limited interruption. The final episode picks up months after the airing of the documentary, when the workers of Dunder Mifflin, past and present, gather for a wedding and a final round of interviews. Mysteries are solved, hatchets are buried, pranks are prunked. Guest stars include Mindy Kaling, BJ Novak, Rachael Harris, Dakota Johnson, Joan Cusack, Ed Begley Jr., Malcolm Barrett, Matt Jones, Andy Buckley, Mike Schur and Bobby Ray Shafer. The Office is exec-produced by Ben Silverman and Greg Daniels, who developed the series for American audiences, as well Paul Lieberstein, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Howard Klein, Brent Forrester and Dan Sterling.

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‘The Office’ Confirms Finale Guest Stars

By | Thursday April 25, 2013 @ 12:22pm PDT

Steve Carell said he wouldn’t return to The Office for the series finale, and now we know for sure he won’t. NBC today revealed the guest stars and a bit about the storyline for May 16′s one-hour series ender. Mindy Kaling, B.J. Novak, Rachael Harris, Dakota Johnson, Joan Cusack, Ed Begley Jr, Malcolm Barrett, Matt Jones, Andy Buckley, Mike Schur and Bobby Ray Shafer will guest. According to the storyline: Months after the airing of the documentary, the workers of Dunder Mifflin, past and present, gather for a wedding and a final round of interviews. Mysteries are solved, hatchets are buried, pranks are prunked.

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RATINGS RAT RACE: ‘Hannibal’ Premieres OK, ‘Idol’ Even, ‘Wife Swap’ Down, ‘Elementary’, ‘The Office’, ‘Community’ & ‘Person Of Interest’ Hit Lows

By | Friday April 5, 2013 @ 9:08am PDT

It was another night of all originals for the Big Four on Thursday — and no NCAA Tournament on CBS for the first time in two weeks. It was also the debut of NBC’s new Hannibal (1.6/4) at 10 PM. A prequel of sorts to Silence Of The Lambs, showrunner Bryan Fuller’s scrumptious-looking drama featuring serial killer-to-be Dr. Hannibal Lecter had some bite. Up seven tenths from the dismal debut ratings of NBC’s quickly cancelled Do No Harm in the slot back in February, the show scored the network’s top entertainment programming rating in the 10 PM slot since March 15, 2012. However, Hannibal was down 20% from the midseason debut of Awake in the same time period on March 1, 2012. Overall, Hannibal was up 60% in the slot versus NBC’s season average, excluding news and sports. And the show built on its weak Go On lead-in by 45%. Read More »

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R.I.P. TV Writer Lester Lewis

By | Wednesday March 20, 2013 @ 5:06pm PDT
Nellie Andreeva

UPDATED: Comedy TV writer Lester Lewis, who worked on The Office, died last night. He was 46. Lester most recently wrote and executive produced a “shortcom” project for Fox starring Michael Kosta, which the two co-created. It is eyed for the network’s summer Short-Com Comedy Hour series. Earlier this season, Lewis worked as a consulting producer on David Kohan and Max Mutchnick’s CBS comedy series Partners, having previously served as co-executive producer on Kohan and Mutchnick’s NBC series Four Kings. “We are devastated by the loss of this incredible man and brilliant writer,” Kohan and Mutchick said. “We had the privilege of working with him on two shows. They were both joyous experiences. Our hearts and prayers go out to his wife and children at this time.” Lewis was a consulting producer on NBC’s Emmy-winning Office, where he spent four seasons. He started his career on The PJs and The Larry Sanders Show and had overall deals at Universal and Warner Bros. Lewis is survived by his wife and two young children.

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‘The Bizzaro Office’: The Actors Who Almost Made It To ‘The Office’ Cast

By | Tuesday March 19, 2013 @ 8:07am PDT
Nellie Andreeva

Probably feeling nostalgic with The Office wrapping production on its final season over the weekend, star Rainn Wilson yesterday posted a copy of the sign-in log for his Office audition almost 10 years ago, which provided a glimpse into who else tested for lead roles on the Emmy-winning NBC series. Wilson auditioned for both the Michael and Dwight roles. Adam Scott and Hamish Linklater read for Jim, Alan Tudyk for Michael, and Ever Carradine, Mary Lynn Rajskub and Anne Dudek for Pam. Jenna Fischer, who got the Pam role, is also on the sheet. According to Fischer, the producers tried out four candidates for each of the four central characters, mixing and matching them. That likely happened after Paul Giamatti, then-NBC boss Kevin Reilly’s top choice to play Michael Scott, passed. It was Stacey Snider, then chairwoman of Universal Pictures, who urged sibling NBC to cast Steve Carell in the role.

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Ricky Gervais To Revive ‘The Office’s David Brent For Charity Telethon

By | Thursday February 28, 2013 @ 2:20am PST

Ricky Gervais is dusting off his David Brent persona in support of Comic Relief. The character, created by Gervais and Stephen Merchant for their original UK version of The Office, hasn’t been seen in ten years (save for a brief cameo appearance by Gervais on one of Steve Carell’s last episodes of the U.S. The Office). Gervais wrote on his blog “I thought it was time to revisit my most famous comedy creation to find out what he’s been up to for the last decade and most importantly what he’s up to now.” A mini-episode entitled The Office Revisited will show that Brent has not given up his dream of making it in the music business. The documentary crew find him selling cleaning products to anywhere “with toilets, floors and staircases.” But he’s also managing acts and living vicariously through a young performer, Dom Johnson. According to Gervais, “Fans of The Office will be excited to know we finally get to hear the whole of ‘The Serpent Who Guards The Gates Of Hell’ and an amazingly cringeworthy, self-funded video ‘Equality Street’. Horrendous.” The Office Revisited will be shown as part of the UK’s Red Nose Day telethon on March 15 on BBC One. There’s a teaser below, but to see the (embed-disabled) trailer, hop over to You Tube.

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‘The Office’ Series Finale Set For May 16

By | Thursday February 7, 2013 @ 9:28am PST
Nellie Andreeva

NBC has set a date for the series finale of The Office. The 200th and final episode of the Emmy-winning comedy will air May 16. It will be an hourlong closing episode from 9-10 PM that won’t feature original star Steve Carell, who declined an invite to return for the finale.

Related: ‘The Office’ Staff On How The NBC Series Will End

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Super Bowl Sneak (Sort Of): Dunder Mifflin Paper From ‘The Office’ Gets Ad Campaign

By | Friday February 1, 2013 @ 11:35am PST

Quill.com is a real-life office-products provider that partnered with NBCUniversal‘s consumer products unit in 2011 to offer paper branded Dunder Mifflin — the fictional Scranton, PA-based paper-supply company at the center of NBC’s The Office. It turns out the initiative has been a major success, and now Quill (based in Illinois, by the way) has Dunder-branded pens, self-stick notes, legal pads and anything else one might find at a cubicle. Now a panel of Office exec producers and Quill and NBCU execs have picked a winning 30-second ad for the products via a crowdsourcing campaign. It will actually air live during the third quarter of the Super Bowl on Sunday — albeit only in Scranton. Here’s the ad, titled “Paper War”:

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Steve Carell Explains Why He’s Not Returning To ‘The Office’

By | Thursday January 24, 2013 @ 10:45am PST

The Office exec producer Greg Daniels announced at TCA last week that Steve Carell would not make a re-appearance in the show’s last season or the final episode and Carell explained why in a recent interview with Access Hollywood. “I just didn’t think it was right for the character, because that character had had an arc within the story and kind of grew and sort of evolved past the idea of the documentary,” Carell told Access Hollywood’s Tim Vincent. Carell said he does plan to visit the set, though, before its nine-season run ends. “I’m really good friends with everybody on the cast and with [executive producer] Greg Daniels and I want to go back to say, ‘Hi,’ certainly, before it all ends, but I just thought, in terms of the character, it didn’t make sense,” he said. Carell made his comments at Sundance where he was promoting his new film The Way, Way Back.

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‘The Office’ Staff On How The NBC Series Will End: TCA

By | Wednesday January 16, 2013 @ 4:54pm PST

Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.

It’s official. Greg Daniels, executive producer and showrunner of The Office, said at today’s TCA that Steve Carell would not make a re-appearance in the last season or the final episode of the show’s nine-season run. Daniels said that Carell “was very much of the opinion that the ‘Goodbye Michael’ episode and story arc leading up to it was the goodbye to the fans and the show”. This final season, the producer said, “is the goodbye that the rest of the show gets to have.”

Daniels said viewers should not expect every detail of 9 seasons to be wrapped up in the final episode, which does not yet have a completed script and is still at the table-read stage. He said next week’s episode is “the beginning of the end” of the 24-episode season. Daniels would not reveal any plot spoilers but said that one character is fired in Episode 15.

He added that the finale will be one hour and some series regulars and guest stars may return, including Mindy Kaling. Read More »

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