Not many sitcoms end up staying successful after losing their main characters, if the crew decides to bother carrying on at all. Even if the show features a likable ensemble cast it can be difficult, and that’s the challenge NBC’s The Office faces as the cast and crew gear up to start filming the eighth season of the comedy series after last season’s departure of lead Steve Carell, who played Michael Scott, the office boss of the fictional Scranton, PA paper company.
Though the final episodes of the seventh season already showed us a Carell-less Office, the burden of the rest of the cast carrying on without him for an entire season isn’t something that Carell himself thinks they’ll have trouble with, according to an interview with him in USA Today. Still, he thinks it’s a “little strange” that the rest of the gang will be reporting to the set without him. “It is a little weird that everyone else is going back to school and I have graduated. It will be interesting two weeks from now. I’m sure I’ll have some pangs.” He then goes deeper into his personal feelings, adding “I’ve worked with them for so many years. I’ll miss them. But I have no regrets in terms of moving on. I left at the right time for me. But the show will continue and will be great.”
That “right time” is to pursue a movie career. Carell has already had some cinema success, with praised hits (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine) and some misses (Dinner for Schmucks) and has several other comedies in production. Oddly, the article mentions James Spader as his replacement — including a quote from Carell calling “a very good choice” — but it has already been reported that Spader is actually replacing Kathy Bates as the CEO of the company. Nonetheless, Carell gives his approval to Spader, mentioning “I look forward to watching him.”
Ultimately Carell doesn’t rule out a return visit to the Scranton office, saying “That has not been discussed,” but ultimately that will probably rest in part on how well Carell’s movie career goes. Either way, The Office still enjoys high ratings and likely will continue to do so when the series returns for season eight on September 22.
Carell can next be seen in the movie Crazy, Stupid, Love which will be released on July 29.
So, do you ultimately think The Office without Steve Carell is worth watching? Give us your thoughts in the comments!