‘The Office’ is in Limbo as Showrunner Leaves, Stars’ Status Up in the Air

by | March 22, 2012 at 10:26 AM | The Office

Paul Lieberstein on The Office (NBC)

It’s been widely accepted that “The Office” is going to be renewed for a ninth season, mainly because it’s still NBC’s best-rated Thursday comedy, despite its creative struggles this year. But for it to come back, the show is going to need to retain most of its major stars, which is something that’s still being negotiated. Now, according to Deadline, the show will also be looking for a new boss, as its current showrunner, Paul Lieberstein, is preparing to give up that role.

Lieberstein also plays meek Dunder Mifflin HR rep Toby Flenderson, and it seems that he’ll stay in that role. He’ll also be working on the proposed Rainn Wilson spin-off, tentatively titled “The Farm.” But, the show is currently looking looking for a new producer to run things day-to-day starting next season.

This news comes on the heels of the departure of James Spader at the end of the season, as well as Mindy Kaling’s new FOX pilot that might spell the end of her tenure as an actor and a writer on the show. In addition, the contracts of John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms and B.J. Novak all are up at the end of the season, and losing any of them would be a big blow to the show — Novak more for his writing, as the part of Ryan has shrunk as his writing and producing responsibilities have increased.

At a certain point, you have to wonder where the tipping point is where NBC decides that the long-running comedy is finally done. It took a major hit after Steve Carell left last year, and it’s only starting to recover creatively in the latter half of the season. Is it really in their best interests to put out a severely compromised ninth season just because it can?

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