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Steve Carell leaving 'The Office'

Posted by Matthew Gilbert  June 28, 2010 05:05 PM

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Yes, the boss is leaving the building, but not immediately. Steve Carrell, who plays Michael Scott on NBC's "The Office," has confirmed that he will depart next May, which will be the end of the show's 7th season. "I just think it's time," Carell told E!. "I want to fulfill my contract. When I first signed on I had a contract for seven seasons, and this coming year is my seventh. I just thought it was time for my character to go."

I can't say I blame him. Seven years on one show playing one character is a long haul, especially when the show in question is losing its mojo. "The Office" still has moments -- Jim and Pam's wedding was one of them -- but on the whole it's not nearly as special as it once was. The characters don't come off as strange misfits anymore, because they've become so well known to us; they're a lot more like the quirky sitcom characters we see everywhere else on network TV. And since their wedding, Jim and Pam have been tangled up in some terribly stale young-parent plotlines. 

A seven-year run is pretty great, but NBC will probably still keep trying to squeeze life out of it after Carell leaves. The desperate network needs to hold onto any remnants of greatness it can find. But I would hate-hate-hate to see another "Scrubs" situation, where a once brilliant show gets rebooted and ultimately dies a much diminshed thing. It will be interesting to see NBC try to dress up Carell's departure in positivity, so that Carell's last episode won't seem like a series finale.

What do you think? Maybe they'll bring in a new star? Any suggestions?

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