Steve Carell’s decision to leave “The Office” during the show’s seventh season wasn’t entirely his own, according to crew members quoted in a new book about the show.
According to excerpts of Andy Green’s oral history, “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s,” Carell was pushed off the show by ambivalent executives at NBC. The book quotes several former crew members who said that Carell left the show because no one asked him to stay.
“He didn’t want to leave the show,” hairstylist Kim Ferry said in an excerpt published in Collider. “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.”
Other crew members shared a similar account of events. Casting director Allison Jones said she remembered that Carell had been willing to extend his contract, but “NBC, for whatever reason, wouldn’t make a deal with him… Somebody didn’t pay him enough.”
“It was absolutely asinine,” Jones said. “I don’t know what else to say about that. Just asinine.”
Greene’s book notes that Carell’s exit came as Bob Greenblatt was taking over for Jeff Zucker as head of NBC. Producer Randy Cordray told Greene he believed that Greenblatt was “not as big a fan of ‘The Office’ as we wished he would’ve been. He took ‘The Office’ for granted.”
For his part, Greenblatt remembered it differently. “I think Steve was already departing the show when I arrived,” he said. “I couldn’t do anything about that since it preceded me.”
Representatives for Carell and NBC did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.