Those who have been wondering how long The Office can continue without Steve Carell’s essential Michael Scott finally have their answer: one more year. Yes, as executive producer Greg Daniels announced in a conference call with the press today, the coming ninth season will be the sitcom’s last. TV Line quotes Daniels as saying, “All questions will be answered this year… We’re going to see who is behind the documentary. [It’s a] big Jim and Pam year.” Well, that sounds somewhat promising, if a bit too reminiscent of what Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse were saying before the final season of Lost. Carell may or may not return for the finale.
Vulture reports that Daniels said NBC “debated whether or not to reboot” The Office, but between concerns about cast members returning for a tenth season and details of the story line planned for the coming year, they decided against it. Entertainment Weekly points out that despite a ratings drop after Carell’s departure, the show remains the network’s highest-rated scripted series, which raises the question: Are we entering a new era for NBC comedies? With both 30 Rock and The Office about to call it quits (not to mention Community on Dan Harmon-less Friday night deathwatch), the end of NBC’s critically acclaimed but poorly performing Thursday comedy lineup seems imminent.