Steve Carell recently dropped a bombshell at the tail end of a BBC interview. The interviewer noted that Carell’s contract with The Office only runs through next season. Carell: “That will probably be my last year.” (NBC is not commenting on the interview.)
Reaction #1: Frankly, it’s shocking that Steve Carell is still on The Office. The show’s debatable consistency aside (I still love it), he could’ve moved on to a full-time film career any time after the first season, and his decision to stay this long seems to be grounded more in his love for the show and the character than anything personal or financial.
Reaction #2: The next season of The Office will be its seventh season. That’s a lot even for successful shows, but Seinfeld squeezed out nine, and while The Simpsons peaked in Seasons 5-7, it still produced plenty of quality after that, if less and less frequently.
Reaction #3: That said, the show’s just not going to work without Steve Carell, even if it stays on the air another year or two. We’d all rather see The Office die with dignity than drag on as a shell of itself, making a Complete DVD Box Set less and less desirable; by the end of That 70s Show, the cast was down to like, Hyde and Tommy Chong’s intern.
Reaction #4: That “that said” point said, I would be intrigued to see where the plot would go without Michael Scott, and to see the plot leading up to him leaving. I’ve been calling for a major Office plot shakeup for a while (any time something major happens, it dissipates back to normal within a few episodes), and this would give the writers and producers that chance.
Reaction #5: With the current state of NBC, The Office isn’t going off the air until someone pries it from its cold, dead peacock claw. This may not be a good thing.
So our Open Thread Doubleshot Question to you is: Do you see Steve Carell leaving The Office after next season, and how would that make you feel about the show? Is it the right time? Or is he just negotiating for a contract renewal? Leave your reactions in the comments, fellow Office-specific-things-carer-abouters.