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The Real Reason Steve Carell Left The Office

Michael Scott talking to toby in an office
Credit: NBC

Most fans of The Office will agree that the departure of Michael Scott was one of the saddest losses of all time. Although Season 8 and 9 were still great and could compete with other sitcoms, there was still something missing. And that was Steve Carell. We all missed the World’s Best Boss after he left in 2011, as the majority of us believed he left the mockumentary to focus on other projects. But sadly this may not have been the case after all…

A new book claims that Steve Carell wasn’t actually planning on leaving The Office. Instead, the heads of NBC didn’t want him to stay any longer. It was not the actor’s intention to leave, but he was left with no choice after NBC didn’t sign a deal with him. Carell was always signed to do 7 seasons, with the door left open (at first). But it seems things took a turn for the worse and the actor’s contract was not extended. The scene below feels even more real now knowing Michael Scott was essentially pushed out the door.

What was the reason NBC had to not renew his contract?

Allison Jones, The Office’s Casting Director’ describes this time as ‘asinine’, as the beloved actor was shunned by NBC executives. There was some speculation as to why NBC no longer felt Michael Scott should remain in The Office. At the time of contracts being signed, a sound mixer and hairstylist from the show let it slip in a radio interview that he may be leaving after Season 7. Because Carell had not made a final decision, executives instead decided to revoke their offer.

In Andy Greene’s book ‘The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s‘, NBC is exposed on numerous occasions by employees of the show at the time. Several crew members suggest that there was a battle between Carell and NBC. This basically led to NBC forcing the comedian to leave the series. Steve Carell did thankfully return to the last episode. This indicates things may have been reconciled as the show was ending for good.

Michael Scott sitting at a dinner table at a wedding
Credit: NBC

Why did Carell have to leave?!

Greene’s book also notes that NBC swapped their head executive, with Bob Greenblatt taking over. The Office produced Randy Cordray states that he was not a huge fan of the show, leading many to understand his decision to shun Carell, as he may not have comprehended the impact and love for Michael Scott. Cordray goes on to say that if you aren’t respected then you move one. As Carell was not offered a contract or even a discussion, it’s easy to see where problems arose.

With fans of the show devastated when Michael Scott left, it’s comforting to know that Carell didn’t leave the show on his own merit. It’s sad to think that he wanted to stay on the show. Season 8 and 9 would have been very different. We can’t say NBC made the wrong decision, as the show we all know and love could have been very different. Yes, we would have wanted Carell to stay forever. But one thing we do know is – Michael Scott, we will always salute you!

If you’re a huge fan of The Office, then you should know that they are releasing a kid’s book! Check it out here!