The Office: Steve Carell never wanted to leave long-running sitcom, new book claims

Oscar-nominated actor’s exit from beloved comedy only happened when NBC let his contract lapse, it has been alleged

Adam White
Wednesday 25 March 2020 16:03 GMT
Viral scene from The Office does not shot 'timetraveller wearing AirPods'

Steve Carell never wanted to leave The Office and only did so when US broadcaster NBC let his contract lapse, a new book has claimed.

The US remake of the British comedy helped turn Carell into a star, with the Oscar nominee leaving the series after its seventh season. While it was reported at the time that Carell had left to pursue further career opportunities, it has now been alleged that he in fact had every intention to stay.

“He didn’t want to leave the show,” the show’s hairstylist Kim Ferry claims in the new behind-the-scenes book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s.

“He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years … He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract.

“The deadline came for when [the network was] supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn’t make him an offer. So his agent was like, ‘Well, I guess they don’t want to renew you for some reason.’ Which was insane to me. And to him, I think.”

Casting director Allison Jones also remembered the incident, recalling: “He was going to do another season and then NBC, for whatever reason, wouldn’t make a deal with him. Somebody didn’t pay him enough. It was absolutely asinine. I don’t know what else to say about that. Just asinine.”

The book, written by Andy Greene, suggests that a regime change within NBC left The Office without key supporters at the very top. Bob Greenblatt, who assumed the role of NBC’s chairman, was reportedly not a massive fan of the series, and wasn’t interested in boosting Carell’s salary to prevent his departure.

The Office continued for two more seasons after Carell’s exit. His departure led to a number of guest stars who attempted to assume his role in the series, including Idris Elba, James Spader and Catherine Tate.

Carell returned to the series for its final episode in 2013.

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