Carell Question Hovers Over ‘Office’ as End Nears

by | April 24, 2013 at 10:07 AM | The Office, TV News

Original cast member Steve Carell (inset) reportedly paid a recent visit to the set of "The Office," starring Brian Baumgartner, Angela Kinsey (center) and Jenna Fischer (Photos: NBC, Getty Images)

Speculation persists that Steve Carell will make some sort of an appearance in the series finale of “The Office” next month, despite repeated denials on the subject by all involved over the last few months.

The reason why the rumors won’t die: Carell reportedly visited the set when the finale — scheduled to air May 16 on NBC — was being filmed a few weeks ago.

The story — reported here by TVLine.com — even has multiple denials that Carell did anything more than say hello and perhaps watch as filming on the finale proceeded.

And still, the speculation persists that he filmed some sort of cameo during the visit. Carell, of course, was the star of the series in its highest-rated seasons — leaving after Season 7 to pursue his movie career full-time.

His character, Michael Scott, had moved away from Scranton, but he was always so sentimental about his job and the people in the regional office of Dunder-Mifflin Paper that a visit to the office would not be out of character for him.

Amid all the denials in the TV Line story is one quote from an unnamed source who said, “Don’t rule anything out.” That could be a hint that Carell appears in the finale, or just a tease aimed at generating viewership for finale.

Watch the most recent episode of “The Office” with guest-star Roseanne Barr:

The finale will cap the sitcom’s nine-season run on NBC. The finale is one hour, starting at 9/8c on Thursday, May 16.

Not much is known about the ending that’s been planned for this show and its many characters. One of the series’ stars, Jenna Fischer — who plays Pam Halpert (nee Beasley) — told David Letterman this week that the “Office” writers sought the actors’ input when they were creating the finale and determining the fates of their characters. She said the writers asked the actors to tell them their “fantasy” ending for the characters they play.

Fischer, who appeared on Letterman’s “Late Show” on CBS Tuesday, did not say if the writers took the actors’ suggestions and wrote their endings accordingly.

Those of us who loved “The Office” in its first seasons, and continued to follow it in the two seasons since Carell left, will mourn its passing. The thing is, though: There are a lot fewer of us than there once were. The episode above, for example, drew 3.834 million viewers when it aired April 11 on NBC — roughly half the viewership this show had in its heyday.

Watch Jenna Fischer on “David Letterman”: