Updated: March 26, 2020 10:38:27 am
Fans believed that Steve Carell left The Office, one of the most popular comedy shows ever, voluntarily but former crew members have blamed NBC for the actor’s exit from the series after seven seasons.
Carell played Michael Scott, an empathic but terrible boss, and the show saw a significant dip in popularity after his exit.
A new book, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s by Andy Greene, has pulled the curtains from what led to Carell’s departure from the show through interviews with former crew members.
According to Collider, everything started when Steve Carell gave an interview in April 2010 to the BBC. The final year of his contract was yet to be renewed and the actor noted that season seven may be his last one.
The Office boom operator/sound mixer Brian Wittle, said Carell did not get any response from the show’s people about his contract.
Hairstylist Kim Ferry backed up Wittle’s recollection of the events, noting that the network decided not to pick up Carell for another season.
“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 told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract for a couple years. 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,” Ferry said.
At the time of Steve Carell’s contract negotiations, there was a regime change at NBC with Jeff Zucker on his way out and Bob Greenblatt replacing him.
According to The Office producer Randy Cordray, Greenblatt was not a huge fan of the show.
He said, “If you’re not respected and don’t even get offered a contract or a discussion of a future contract, then you move on, he said, adding that he thinks Carell would have stayed with the series had NBC handled things differently.”
Greenblatt, however, claims he can’t remember the sequence of events. “I think Steve was already departing the show when I arrived. I couldn’t do anything about that since it preceded me.”
Ferry said she felt bad because there is this perception that Carell left the show, which is not true.
“(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… He really wanted to stay. And it devastated all of us because he was the heart of our show,” she said.
Legendary casting director Allison Jones said the way NBC handled Carell’s exit was just asinine.
“As I recall, he was going to do another season and then NBC, for whatever reason, wouldn’t make a deal with him. Somebody didn’t pay him enough. It was absolutely asinine. I don’t know what else to say about that. Just asinine,” Jones said.
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