‘The Office’ Will End After This Season, Top Producer Says

Kate Flannery and John Krasinski of "The Office." Inset: Producer Greg Daniels (Photos: NBC)

The upcoming season of “The Office” will be its last, showrunner Greg Daniels announced Tuesday afternoon.

“This will be the last season of ‘The Office’,” Daniels announced at the outset of a planned telephone news conference with reporters.

The announcement came as somewhat of a surprise, if only because there had been no inkling previously that this coming season — the show’s ninth — would be its last.

But in explaining the decision to end the show, Daniels indicated that, in a way, the show is a victim of its own success as its principal players are all now in demand for other projects.

He said he and his team decided that, with most of the core cast planning to go elsewhere in their careers, they would rather plot a conclusion to the series rather than engineer a reboot with new characters and cast members. He said producers and writers are now focused on creating an “artistic ending for the show that pays off a lot of the stuff that matters most to fans.”

“We are planning a very big, exciting last season,” Daniels said. “We’re going to have a lot of familiar faces coming back. We’re going to Roy’s [David Denman] wedding. David Wallace [Andy Buckley] is running Dunder Mifflin. We have a lot of funny stories, great Dwight [Rainn Wilson] stories that we’ve wanted to tell for years, just a lot of drama in the Jim [John Krasinski] and Pam [Jenna Fischer] story this year. The story’s definitely not over for them. We have a lot of great things planned, basically.”

Among other things, Daniels said:

It would be great if the original “Office” boss Michael Scott — played by Steve Carell, the first of the “Office” stars to establish himself as a movie star — would return some time during this final season. “We would certainly wish for it,” Daniels said. “We’re not going to put so much pressure on Steve by writing something that can only work if he returns, but it would be fantastic if he would return.” Daniels noted that Carell “really loved” how his character exited back in April 2011, and might feel that returning would kind of “mess up such a stylish exit.”

“We had debated whether to reboot [the series with new characters] and I think it was a bit of a difficult decision [to come down in favor of drawing the show to a conclusion].” Throughout the news conference, Daniels acknowledged that the principal challenge for the “Office” producers, going forward, is the departure of so many series regulars. B.J. Novak and Mindy Kaling are off working on her new Fox sitcom “The Mindy Project,” which means they won’t be available for every “Office” episode this season. Rainn Wilson is also working on another show, a Dwight Schrute spinoff. And Ed Helms and John Krasinski (and possibly others) are already movie stars (especially Helms) and are looking forward to lucrative film careers.

“Basically, all questions will be answered.” Daniels was referring to an aspect of this series that it was possible to forget after eight seasons — the whole thing was styled as if some off-camera crew was filming a documentary about this “typical” office. And what Daniels was saying was that this “documentary” would be acknowledged and dealt with somehow by the time the series ends. “You’re going to see who’s behind the documentary. You’re going to meet some of them,” Daniels said.

Our hope: That perhaps the show will end next spring with, literally, the documentary getting produced — perhaps a 90-minute finale documentary. Wouldn’t that be great?

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