“This will be the last season of The Office, the series’ developer/executive producer Greg Daniels just announced. Daniels, who ran the veteran NBC comedy from season one through five and has returned for the upcoming season nine, made the announcement on a conference call this morning. “It was a hard decision but this is going to be a real gangbuster season,” added Daniels. The producer stressed that creative closure was the primary reason behind the decision to end the series. “Certainly we’re not leaving for any reason other than that one,” said Daniels. “This year feels like the last chance” for The Office to have “an artistic ending.” With The Office still ranking as NBC’s highest-rated scripted series, Daniels said he feared the network might want to “cling to it” when he approached NBC executives with the idea of ending the show. “It’s actually a big surprise to me that NBC was so supportive of this decision,” he said. “We all had a lot of passion for it and persuaded them.”
The Emmy-winning comedy struggled to recover from the exit of its leading man Steve Carell at the end of Season 7. After his anointed successor James Spader exited this May, word was that Daniels had a plan to reboot the long-running series heading into Season 9, which premieres Sept. 20. The series was able to secure its core cast, with Ed Helms, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer all coming back, joined by Rainn Wilson, who will reprise his role with an eye toward jumping onto spinoff The Farm, which the actor created with former Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein.
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Daniels said that a lot of stories would be wrapped up and the identity of the documentary camera crew that been filming the employees of Scranton, Penn. would be revealed. To bookend the series, Daniels said he wanted to get Ken Kwapis, who directed the pilot, to also direct the finale. “There is so much to pay off from nine seasons of great characters and the core cast are all going to be there,” he said. “Now that we know we have an end date, we can take some chances and blow things up.”
As for Carell and his character Michael Scott, “we certainly wish Michael Scott would return,” Daniels said. “But we’re not going to put pressure on Steve to write something only he could do.” Daniels wouldn’t be pinned down on any specifics on Carell or the end of The Office. “We’ll see, we haven’t written anything, we just have some ideas for the ending,” he said.
The Office joins NBC’s other Emmy-winning Thursday comedy series, 30 Rock, which also will end its run this coming season after the final 13 episodes. The Office has a full-season 22-episode order.
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