Steve Carell leaving The Office could be a death knell for the show. When the possibility of Steve Carell leaving The Office was first raised months ago, fans wondered if he was serious. The TV and film star has a seven-year contract with the show, and, with a seventh season beginning in a few months, it would be time for renegotiations soon. Given his increase in star power since he started the show, he could have gotten a rich deal to stay on. However, Steve Carell leaving The Office now seems like a more likely outcome, if his latest words are an indication.
Carell first hinted he might not renew his contract during promotions for Date Night. Currently, he has another film to promote in the animated Despicable Me, but talk about The Office is still prevalent. He told BBC Radio a few months ago that he would not sign a new deal, and he confirmed it to E!’s Kristin Dos Santos on Sunday.
The rumors of Steve Carell leaving The Office now appear to be true, since he told Dos Santos himself that, “It was time for my character to go.” This will make the seventh season of the NBC favorite a long, final goodbye to Michael Scott, before Dunder Mifflin is thrown into upheaval.
It is somewhat surprising that Carell delayed leaving The Office for this long, given his intensely busy schedule. Carell broke out as a movie star just as The Office made it big, and has had to juggle the show with his busy movie career for years now. He has managed to do them both at once, but now he will actually have free time on his hands.
With Steve Carell leaving The Office, the show itself has to figure out a new plan. It was already starting to slip with critics and audiences, as its comedic thunder has been stolen by 30 Rock, Glee, Modern Family and others. With its main character about to leave, and with no more Jim and Pam drama to go on, no one would be surprised if The Office‘s days were numbered.
However, Carell did say that the sitcom would go on, even without Michael Scott. Whether it would go on with one of the other regulars taking over, or with a new actor stepping in as boss, is uncertain. They already experimented with Jim Halpert as co-manager last season – though a Dwight Schrute regime would undoubtedly collapse in no time.
Yet, the possibility of Steve Carell leaving The Office has not blind-sided the writers. Writer-actress Mindy Kaling told the A.V. Club a few years ago that they were thinking about cycling in new actors and bosses down the road, a la ER. If a contingency plan has been pondered, they now have a year to fine-tune it before Michael’s pink slip comes in.
E! Online- “Steve Carell Confirms He’s Leaving The Office – but Show May Go On”
A.V. Club- “Mindy Kaling”