Scoop! The Office's Big Goodbye Is Sooner Than You Think

Just when you thought you’d heard everything about The Office‘s farewell storyline for Steve Carell (and thus Michael Scott), this bit of news comes bounding in: Carell’s final appearance on the beloved NBC comedy will air well before this season itself ends.

“Steve is leaving earlier than the [season finale],” reveals executive producer Greg Daniels, who expects to pen Carell’s swan song himself. Specifically, he says, “The big ‘Goodbye, Steve’ thing will be before [May] sweeps.”

Given the timing of Carell’s exit, what will the final weeks of this season then be about? “Our basic plan,” Daniels says, “is to see the jockeying and interviewing [for Michael's job], and not have that happen off-camera and suddenly present America with the choice. We’d rather play out the stories of the various characters who want that seat, and show them fight for it.”

“It’s kind of a fun situation,” Daniels says, “and the chaos is creatively exciting.” As longtime Office viewers can attest, “Whenever something with big stakes happens, it leads to good episodes — and we will have a lot of significant things happening.”

On hand to select Michael’s successor will be Kathy Bates, reprising her role of Jo Bennett, the country-fried CEO of Dunder-Mifflin’s parent company, Sabre. (Bates already has completed filming the first season of NBC’s Harry’s Law, which debuts January 17.) “We’re going to play out the whole [replacement] process in a realistic way,” says Daniels. “And it’s always great to have Kathy here.”

The outcome of the interview process will feed the season finale, which is tentatively set to run an hour. The extra time may very well be needed to showcase not just the reveal of the new boss but the various employees’ reactions to whomever he or she is. “They’re all different people with strong personalities,” Daniels notes, “so they each have a lot invested in who’s their new boss.”

Which Dunder-Mifflin drone do you think will — or should — replace the irreplaceable Michael Scott?

Comments (60)

  • :(

    Comment by Shane – January 13, 2011 10:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So, it will essentially be House Season 4?

    Comment by Mercedes – January 13, 2011 10:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s what exactly I thought when reading it.

      Comment by Sean – January 14, 2011 09:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Please kill this show. It’s basically dead as it is now, I just can’t see it being any good without Michael Scott.

    Comment by Andrew – January 13, 2011 10:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I thought so too until the christmas episode. It’s turning around!

      Comment by David – January 14, 2011 08:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I don’t think I could watch after Carell leaves…which means it’s bye to The Office sooner than I thought

    Comment by Sharu – January 13, 2011 10:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Brilliant!

    Comment by Leon Redbone – January 13, 2011 10:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • See ya dont let the door hit you on the way out.

    Comment by Jason – January 13, 2011 10:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Rhys Darby, thank you VERY much!

    Comment by Waage – January 13, 2011 10:23 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That would be awesome!

      Comment by Kate – January 13, 2011 10:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • D:

    Steve, don’t leave!

    Comment by Joel – January 13, 2011 10:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m glad Michael will be leaving earlier than expected, I’ve found it quite hard to continue watching the show this last season or so. I hope his departure will boost the show creatively

    Comment by Lou – January 13, 2011 10:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. I think the Michael character has hit a bit of a creative wall, and his leaving, while sad, could be a shot in the arm for the show. I’m actually more sad about Mindy Kaling leaving – her writing is phenomenal and Kelly is such a great character.

      I’m kind of hoping Darryl will take over the reigns (he’d be the opposite of Michael – not wanting to get involved in anything instead of inserting himself into every situation), but I’m open to whatever happens.

      Comment by Nicole – January 14, 2011 06:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Darryl would be a great boss, I really like how his character has developed in recent seasons and his friendship with Andy is one of the best things in the show.

        I didn’t know Mindy might be leaving that makes me sad

        Comment by Lou – January 14, 2011 09:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • CREED!!!!!

    Comment by lethargic – January 13, 2011 10:29 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’ll miss Michael Scott, but I love these other characters way too much to not care about the show after he leaves. I’ll watch it as long as it’s on!

    Comment by brandy – January 13, 2011 10:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I feel the same. Jim, Pam, Dwight, Kelly, Kevin, Oscar, Angela (and her cats), Creed, Stanley, Andy, Erin, Darryl, Meredith, Cecilia (so cute!) and even Toby are worth to watch. I just don’t care about Ryan and Phyllis.

      Comment by Amanda – January 14, 2011 03:26 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • You’re nuts! Phyllis is awesome!!!

        Comment by Karen – January 14, 2011 09:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Toby is an amazing character! I love the Scott vs. Flanderson duels! Episodes like “Frame Toby”, “Goodbye, Toby” and “Conflict Resolution” are gold…

        Comment by Saulo – January 14, 2011 07:02 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would just love to see a row of potential interviewees sitting in a line talking to each other, having these interviewees being old 90′s leading men like Drew Carey, Tim Allen, Ray Romano, Kevin James, and even Bob Newhart all talking. Could be funny

    Comment by Jared – January 13, 2011 10:39 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • that would be soooooo cool!!!

      Comment by Sara – January 13, 2011 11:08 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I like Jared’s idea. Very creative!
      This would make an excellent single episode where a bunch of well known stars all interview for Michael’s job. Then ofcourse, at the end of the episode, none of them are chosen for the next round of interviews.

      Comment by Dan – January 14, 2011 08:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jack Coleman.

    Comment by dref22 – January 13, 2011 10:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Hoover – January 13, 2011 11:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Awesome!

      Comment by TaraMisu – January 14, 2011 03:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • That’s brilliant! At least as a short term idea, a hyper-efficient and sexy manager, like Veronica from Better Off Ted (still miss it) would make a terrific idea. Her character could try to seduce Jim, fire Pam, see right thru Dwight. It could be brilliant.

      Comment by Rock Golf – January 14, 2011 08:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • OMG yes! She’s perfect! She can just reprise her BOT role as Veronica. I can totally see it.

        Comment by jujubee – January 14, 2011 11:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Needs to be someone who can creatively bring the show back to where it was in season 2. Bring it back to the Dwight-Andy gags, Jam romance etc. I think Dwight, with the appropriate writing, could be a good choice for manager–or at least figure into the episodes that go through the interviewing in a big way.

    Comment by Owen – January 13, 2011 11:54 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Didn’t people learn from Scrubs?

    Comment by dee123 – January 13, 2011 11:56 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Bradley Whitford. Please.

    Comment by Linus – January 14, 2011 12:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • They just need to end the show now. It has been tedious to watch the last 2 or 3 seasons, I can’t imagine how bad it will be without Carell.

    Comment by Abe Froman – January 14, 2011 12:57 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jason Bateman.

    Comment by Travis – January 14, 2011 02:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • PORTIA DE ROSSI PLEASE! – Yes, I Agree, she’s perfect for this role.

    Comment by Amanda – January 14, 2011 03:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • No, no, no, Mr. Daniels. Why don’t you end the season with a cliff-hanger? Have Kathy Bates sitting in the office, with the new boss in a point-of-view shot coming in to talk with her. She congratulates the candidate and you fade to black. Everyone will be guessing over the summer and your first episode next season would have guaranteed ratings.

    Comment by Bob – January 14, 2011 04:38 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • There’s no guarantee that they won’t do this. They just said that they will be showing the process of choosing the replacement, not necessarily the conclusion of that process. That would be the smartest way to guarantee ratings in the opener, which, let’s face it, the show needs if it is going to continue without Carell.

      Comment by Amber – January 14, 2011 05:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This would have been the perfect time to end the series.
    But alas, they are gonna drag it out for a couple more seasons.
    Why don’t shows know when to wrap it up?

    Comment by Entertainment2u-Twitter – January 14, 2011 05:29 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Not EVERYONE feels the way you do. Your opinion is its time to wrap the show. So don’t watch. There are those of us though that think The Office is a lot more than just Michael Scott. I ever saw the attraction of Arrested Development. It doesn’t mean that others didn’t have a right to love it and be frustrated when it was taken off the air.

      Comment by Allie – January 14, 2011 06:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • When I first heard Steve Carell was leaving, I also though the show was doomed and granted, it is very rare for a show to survive when a key character leaves.

      But this is an ensemble cast as some have pointed out, not a show built around one person. Some of you are probably too young to remember, but M.A.S.H. successfully survived the loss of many important and memorable cast members. I think it may have even gotten better and stayed fresh longer as this happened.

      Let’s hope it is the same with The Office. I hate to say goodbye already to a show I love (most of the time) given the scarcity of good TV out there.

      Comment by Pop Culture Freak – January 14, 2011 08:31 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Darryl! Please! More Craig Robinson is always a good thing.

    Comment by Megan – January 14, 2011 06:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • If Running Wilde is is canceled, I think Will Arnett would totally be cool for the person to replace Steve Carrell.

    Comment by Kevin – January 14, 2011 06:28 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Here’s the thing …. The show might get better and more creative with Michael gone but it will still be hard for some of us to watch because it will just seem empty with the favorite character. It is kind of like keeping the Andy Griffith show without Andy. Of course it’s an ensemble and there are a lot of funny people. But the office I love is about Michael.

    Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t try to watch.

    Comment by Darrel – January 14, 2011 07:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I do think Darryl has a good chance of being the next boss.

    Comment by Darrel – January 14, 2011 07:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I agree that the show wouldn’t be the same with Michael as no one can ever replace Steve’s energy but it could breathe new life into the show and I think Will Arnett should come into the cast but I say Toby or Dwight could be great to fill in or even Kevin. I wonder who the new boss will be. As a fan of The Office, I will watch it until the end but the show in a way is ending this season. Next season, it will not be the same animal.

    Comment by Lorenzo Von Matterhorn – January 14, 2011 07:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It’ll be as bad as “That 70′s Show” without Topher Grace. The shark has definitely been jumped.

    Comment by Dave – January 14, 2011 08:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • JAN!!!

    Comment by Ellen – January 14, 2011 08:07 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • According to HitFix, Darryl, Andy, and Dwight are the internal candidates up for the job, and other outside people will be in the running, too. Michael will leave 4 episodes before the end of the season, so that makes it sound like he’ll be leaving abruptly – otherwise, if Sabre knew, wouldn’t they want to have hired someone new by the time he leaves, rather than be a manager-less branch for a few weeks?

    Comment by Ben Phelps – January 14, 2011 08:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jon Lovitz

    Comment by Carol – January 14, 2011 08:44 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’m sorry, but I’ll be happy when Michael Scott is gone. I agree that the show has not been as funny lately, but that is due, imo, to the sheer unlikeability of Michael. His immature antics have simply drained the life from the show and have taken focus away from the other characters, who now seem like caricatures of themselves because they don’t get any screen time. Bring on the new boss and let’s see if the show still has some life left in it!

    Comment by Jack – January 14, 2011 09:16 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree Jack – Michael has gone from goofy and somewhat clueless with a heart of gold to often being outright mean. I love episodes that focus on the other characters – thanks for the memories, Steve, but I’m looking forward to the change.

      Comment by Casey – January 16, 2011 02:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I know that Ricky Gervais has said that he has no interest in playing the new boss since he makes a ton of money from the show for doing nothing. Still, a surprise cameo in the cold opening of one of the interview/selection episodes would be great. Jo and Gabe could come out of the conference room and discuss how bad the last candidate was. Gabe: “He looked good on paper. 20 years in the industry.” Jo: “The last thing Scranton needs is another Michael Scott.” The conference room door opens and Ricky Gervais walks out. Gabe: “We’ll contact you when we make our decision, Mr. Brent.” Gervais leaves the office. Jo: “We’ve got to find someone better than this. Who’s next?” The front door swings open and Todd Packer enters.

    Comment by Marc – January 14, 2011 12:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Wow, i laughed out loud just reading that, that is a really great idea!

      Comment by Matt – January 14, 2011 07:51 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why not Ricky Gervais?

    Comment by Amish Bill – January 14, 2011 12:59 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • hahah thats funny one. Ricky Gervais Rofl. He created the UK and the US version. Think about it. He has a show on HBO. do you actually think he wants to A) watch money come in, or B) sell his soul for another 4 seasons to something he already did? exactly! NBC has lost my respect since the conan Leno thing. This is the only show i watch on this network….I think the ratings will be horrible once he leaves.
      and then they will have to cancel the show.

      Comment by Jeremy – January 14, 2011 03:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I would love to at least see an episode where David Brent interviews for the position, that would be AWESOME.

      Comment by Eternal Clementine – January 18, 2011 12:27 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Michael Emerson. Ricky Gervais. Ted Danson. JK Simmons. Terry O’Quinn. Bam!

    Comment by Joe – January 14, 2011 03:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Well.. I wasn’t expecting that. I just hope that the writing improves a bit this season. Losing SC will be a blow to the show.. but it could also help them take it in an entirely new direction.

    Or they could just cancel it and put Community in it’s spot. :)

    Comment by toast – January 15, 2011 06:42 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Todd Packer!!!!

    Comment by Pete – January 17, 2011 07:37 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
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