The Office Season 9

Mindy Kaling has moved on to The Mindy Project.
Mindy Kaling has moved on to The Mindy Project. | Source
BJ Novak is now part-time. He is working on Mindy Kaling's new show.
BJ Novak is now part-time. He is working on Mindy Kaling's new show. | Source
Paul Lieberstein has stepped down to concentrate on the Dwight Schrute spin-off.
Paul Lieberstein has stepped down to concentrate on the Dwight Schrute spin-off. | Source
David Denman is back after a long absence.
David Denman is back after a long absence. | Source
Jake Lacy is the new guy, Pete.
Jake Lacy is the new guy, Pete. | Source

News and Speculation


The Office returns to NBC for a ninth and, presumably, final season that begins on Thursday, September 20th, at 9p.m.[i]

There are several changes afoot for the veteran comedy about lives in the workplace.

Fox has moved Glee to the same time slot as The Office,[ii] which will no doubt make for a new ratings challenge, which the veteran comedy has held the time slot since its fourth season.[iii] My guess is that the numbers will favor Glee.

A number of high-profile staff/cast changes (and pending changes) have occurred in the recent year that could put a damper on show quality. They include:

· Mindy Kaling (Kelly Kapoor) is busy with her own sit-com, The Mindy Project, set to air on Fox, starting September, 25th. With her departure the show loses a quadruple threat as Kaling was an actor, staff writer, director and producer. She claims that she will return for the season nine premiere, and possibly another episode.[iv]

· B.J. Novak (Ryan Howard) will cut back to part-time status. Like Kaling, he too was a quadruple threat as an actor, writer, and producer. Novak is listed as an executive producer for the pilot episode of Kaling’s sitcom.[v] Novak and Kaling, who played on-again, off-again lovers on The Office, have dated in real life and are very close,[vi] so it makes sense to think they would continue working together.

· Paul Lieberstein (Toby Flenderson) has stepped down from his duties as a show producer (he also writes and directs in addition to performing and producing) to focus on the proposed show spin-off of Dwight Schrute, tentatively titled “The Farm.”[vii]

· Rainn Wilson (Dwight Schrute) will likely leave the show at some point. His spin-off show, as mentioned above, will actually appear as an episode on The Office. [viii] The new show is expected to be on NBC’s mid-season schedule for 2013.[ix]

· James Spader (Robert California) has left the show. His character exited the show at the end of last season.

There are some returns and a new face for the current season. They are:

· Gregg Daniels has come back as a producer to fill the gap left by the departure of Paul Lieberstein. He was a co-creator of the US version of the show and in recent years produced Parks and Recreation on NBC.

· David Denman (Roy Anderson) returns after a multi-year absence. He will be seen in the second episode. Roy was the former fiance of Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer).[x] While it has yet to be confirmed, it seems a no-brainer that Roy will cause stress for the now married with family couple of Pam and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski).

· Catherine Tate (Nellie Bertram) will now be a full-time cast member of the show. Tate started as Nellie in a cameo role in season seven.[xi]

· Jake Lacy (Pete) will be the newest cast member of the show. As Pete, he will play an entry-level employee who will be a possible romantic interest for Erin (Ellie Kemper).[xii]

There are some reports that a possible version of the show will come out with all-new cast and crew. That concept is early in development.

In the meantime, The Office needs to wrap up several loose ends on its slate of story lines, most notably:

· The true father of Dwight and Angela’s (Angela Kinsey) baby. Dwight and Angela were an on-again, off-again couple since the beginning of the show. At the end of last season, Dwight went to great lengths to prove he was the father of no-so little baby Phillip.

· The marriage of favorite couple Jim and Pam Halpert needs tested. The return of Roy should provide a much needed challenge.

· The romance of Erin and Andy (Ed Helms) needs to be addressed once and for all. Ed Helms may be the second busiest man in film right now, next to Steve Carell (Michael Scott).

· Does anyone think Michael Scott will not return for the show finale? When the character left at the end of the seventh season, he turned to the camera to address the producers of the supposed documentary around which the show is being made, and said “Let me know if you ever finish this thing.” It seemed to me to be a bit of foreshadowing that Michael would be back. I’m guessing he would use his celebrity to leap into his own long-desired fantasy to be a filmmaker. My speculation aside, Steve Carell would surely come back in some capacity.

The US version of The Office is the longest running version of the show originally created by Ricky Gervais in his native United Kingdom.

The show will approach two hundred episodes, should it run for a full ninth season.

[i] http://www.seattlepi.com/entertainment/tv/tvguide/article/The-Office-Scoop-David-Denman-to-Return-in-3761385.php

[ii] http://www.eonline.com/news/315900/fox-unveils-fall-schedule-glee-moves-to-thursday-touch-to-friday

[iii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Office_%28U.S._TV_series%29

[iv] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/23/the-office-mindy-kaling-returning_n_1695273.html

[v] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2211129/fullcredits#cast

[vi] http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/w0000257.html

[vii] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Lieberstein

[viii] http://tvline.com/2012/06/29/office-spinoff-the-farm-casting/

[ix][ix] http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/01/25/nbc-developing-the-office-spinoff-for-rainn-wilson/

[x] http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/04/david-denman-the-office_n_1741742.html

[xi] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_The_Office_%28U.S._TV_series%29_characters#Nellie_Bertram

[xii][xii] http://insidetv.ew.com/2012/07/28/the-office-jake-lacy/

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