The Office ended its run at the end of nine seasons, but Steve Carell left the series after seven of them. A new book reveals why Carell left the popular comedy. The book is titled “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s.”
The truth behind the actor’s exit from The Office is that he really didn’t plan on leaving the NBC comedy. He was willing to stay on until season eight and possibly longer. However, following an offhanded comment by Carell, the network opted not to pick up the actor’s option for another season.
Per Collider, The Office boom operator/sound mixer Brian Wittle recalled:
“I sat with him one time and he told me the story. He was doing a radio interview and he haphazardly mentioned, almost unconsciously, that it might be his last season. He didn’t plan on saying it out loud and he hadn’t decided anything. He was kind of thinking out loud, but he did it in an interview in public and it created news. Then what he said was the people connected to the show had no reaction to it. They didn’t call and say, ‘What? You wanna leave?’ He said he didn’t get any kind of response from them. When he realized he didn’t get any kind of response from them, he thought, ‘Oh, maybe they don’t really care if I leave. Maybe I should go do other things.’ So I think that made it easier, because when the news broke that he was considering it, the people that are in charge of keeping him there didn’t make a big effort to do so until afterward.”
Kim Ferry, a hairstylist, expanded on the story:
“He didn’t want to leave the show. He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years. He was willing to and his agent was willing to. But for some reason, they didn’t contact him. I don’t know if it was a game of chicken or what… He planned on staying on the show. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract for a couple years. So all of that was willing and ready and, on their side, honest. And the deadline came for when they were 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.”
“[Carell] was like, ‘Look, I told them I want to do it. I don’t want to leave. I don’t understand.’ It just is mind-boggling how that happened. And I feel bad because I think a lot of people think he did leave the show on his own merit and it’s absolutely not true. I’m telling you. I was there. I was there. He really wanted to stay. And it devastated all of us because he was the heart of our show.”
Now, fans of The Office know the real story. Carell didn’t want to leave, but his contract was not picked up by NBC. Some say the comedy was not the same after Carell left.
What do you think? Were you sad to see Carell leave the NBC series? Are you surprised by the real events behind his exit?