When discussing the always-popular workplace comedy The Office with a group, typically many people will say they love the show up until Michael Scott leaves. The NBC series, which is spearheaded by Steve Carell's character for the first seven seasons, ran for two more without the self-proclaimed World's Best Boss. And while we get tons of iconic moments from Andy Bernard taking over, Angela and Dwight's love story, and all the other storylines, things just aren't the same after Michael's departure.
Fans have speculated a lot over the years as to why Carell left the show, even after he won a Golden Globe for his performance in 2006. Although he was certainly a familiar face before The Office, the show truly turned him into a household name. So why leave? Was he bored, or was he perhaps afraid the show couldn't remain good for that much longer? Well, apparently his exit wasn't actually his choice. According to newly revealed information from Andy Greene's book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, NBC didn't want Carell back. To buy the new book, click here.
Collider reports that Greene spoke with boom operator/sound mixer Brian Wittle for the book, along with hairstylist Kim Ferry and casting director Allison Jones, who all spilled some serious tea about Carell's departure.
Wittle recalled an April 2010 interview with BBC, where Carell hinted he might be leaving the show. Apparently, the Academy Award nominee didn't mean to announce anything, but he was then shocked that it seemed no one really cared anyway. Wittle shared:
"He was kind of thinking out loud, but he did it in an interview in public and it created news. Then what he said was the people connected to the show had no reaction to it. They didn’t call and say, ‘What? You wanna leave?’ He said he didn’t get any kind of response from them. When he realized he didn’t get any kind of response from them, he thought, ‘Oh, maybe they don’t really care if I leave. Maybe I should go do other things.’ So I think that made it easier, because when the news broke that he was considering it, the people that are in charge of keeping him there didn’t make a big effort to do so until afterward."
For her part, Ferry revealed a bit more, recalling:
"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 planned on staying on the show. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract for a couple years. So all of that was willing and ready and, on their side, honest. 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. So his agent was like, ‘Well, I guess they don’t want to renew you for some reason.’ Which was insane to me. And to him, I think."
Looking back at Carell's departure, it doesn't seem he really ever gave a thorough answer for why he was leaving. In an interview from 2010, seen below, he first jokes that he wants to spend more time with his family, and then gives a vague answer of, "I just thought it was time." He then adds, "It's tough because it works, and a lot of my best friends work on the show, and it's been a big, big part of my life."
Jones told Greene that Carell's departure had to do with money, stating, "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."
For the Dunder Mifflin fandom, Michael Scott leaving was a huge blow, and it's even more upsetting now to hear that the beloved actor who brought him to life might not have even wanted to say goodbye. Though his final episode as the Regional Manager gave us some amazingly heartfelt moments, we would've loved to have him stay on for at least another season. To relive all of Michael's best scenes, keep binging The Office on Netflix while you still can, or check out these awesome deals here for Sling TV to watch the show via Comedy Central.