I'm in the End the Series camp. NBC probably doesn't see it quite that way, since they continue to be ratings and hit-starved. The Office is one their highest rated shows and maintains a lot of popularity and pop culture cache.
One idea I'd toss out there, if NBC decides to continue The Office without Steve Carell, would be to reach for an outside hire as Regional Manager. My suggestion (I expect some boo-urns for this one): Ricky Gervais.
Gervais keeps it "in the family", he's a "proven manager", it bridges a gap with the UK Office fans who STILL claim (erroneously so, I think) that the American Office is inferior, and there is a lot of comedy to be mined by a complete foreigner attempting to run Dunder Mifflin (especially if they play the "some of this seems awfully familiar" card). It's a crazy idea, but it could work. Or fail miserably. And if it fails miserably, then The Office would be canceled, which is sort of what I'd prefer anyway. So win-win?
That fantasy Gervais scenario is pretty much the only way I'd like to see the show continue on without Carell. Any other outside hire wouldn't fit in, and we've frankly already seen too many of the other cast members in leadership roles already (Jim as co-manager, Ryan as VP, Dwight as temporary boss, Pam as the person who basically runs things, etc.)
Given that Gervais and Merchant both seemed pretty firmly committed to not continuing on their own Office series, it's hard to see why Gervais would want to go back, though. That said, if it was just for ONE season (to bookend the entire Office series) it would be a fun capper.
I'm hoping for a spin-off with either Toby or Ryan. Jim, Pam, Andy and Dwight (besides Michael) are possible bankable stars on the big screen, so they are not likely candidates. I also like Darrell in his own role but he might be in the same boat as the others. I like Ryan's current character so maybe there's something there.
It's been a good run, and will remain one of my all-time favorites. It's given us Dwight Schrute, and that will never be forgotten.
NBC's not exactly overflowing with shows people want to watch right now. Maybe this'll change by next spring, but if they have as many holes to fix as they do this year, it's a lot easier to give this show another year to fail (or not fail!) than to add the 7th or 8th best new show to the lineup.
Originally posted by It's FalseWould NBC really keep The Office going after Steve Carrell departs? Did they not learn ANYTHING from what happened to Scrubs?
CBS kept the original CSI going after a few cast members left. THE OFFICE is as such - it's an ensemble cast. Carrell will leave, but everyone else will step up and fill the gap.
If we want to use Bill Lawrence shows as examples, what about Charlie Sheen replacing Michael J Fox for 1/3 of Spin City's existence? It's not super-memorable or anything, but it lasted fine.
(edited by hansen9j on 28.6.10 2148)
Hindsight being 20/20 - replacing cast members doesn't always work. Remember the shitfest that was Newsradio season 5? Jon Lovitz taking over for Phil Hartman after he was murdered by his wife? Baaaaaaaad.
Spin City was excellent with Charlie Sheen. Sheen has great comedic timing.
If they spin-off the show, they should do it with certain people and not just one. Frasier is one of the few shows where you took one person from a popular show and ran with it for a long time. Angel, DS9, and other spin-off shows who tend to take two or more characters tend to last a bit longer since a certain dynamic is still familiar with the audience. Either way, as with most first seasons of spin-offs I expect a lot of cameos. Changing the main character around rarely leads to a better show. Sin City was much better and more successful with Fox then Charlie. Law and Order as well as CSI has the ability to change characters in and out without too much of a problem due to subject matter being the star. I am curious to see what CSI's ratings what they are now compared to what they were with two years ago.
Aint It Cool (aintitcool.com) has a breakdown of how television is doing so far this year. It's interesting to see what's doing well with the grown ups. It's even more interesting to see what's doing poorly.