There are a lot of rumblings and issues behind-the-scenes at NBC’s The Office which is wrapping its first season sans-Michael Scott. After Steve Carell‘s exit at the end of the last season the show has been trying to find itself as an ensemble comedy (more-so than before). Now with spin-offs, negotiation breakdowns and the upcoming network upfronts (where they’ll announce the fall schedule) it seems that The Office may not make the cut.
Rainn Wilson has a spin-off series already in the works, entitled (not surprisingly) The Farm. That show may or may not make the fall line-up. The new series would occur through a transition which they assumed would happen by a slow transition during the 2012-13 season. The new series would also be taking Paul Lieberstein (“Toby”) to be the Executive Producer (he’s currently the Executive Producer of The Office).
With Lieberstein leaving, that leaves The Office without someone to run the show behind-the-scenes and plucks someone else from the cast in addition to Wilson.
The remainder of The Office cast is no longer in contract. Since NBC wasn’t sure how the show would do on its own without Carell, John Krasinski (Jim), Ed Helms (Andy), Jenna Fischer (Pam) and B.J. Novak (Ryan) only had contracts till the end of the current season and aren’t locked into another season. Negotiations for another season are rumored to have stalled.
For this portion of the cast, there may not be a desire to limp through another season. If The Office does make it into another season it’s likely to be the last and with The Farm on potential order, it’d basically be a launching vehicle for another series they won’t be a part of.
The cast have also been enjoying a bit of success, albeit small, on the big screen with a few hits across the few of them. Locking into another year of a series that has little future would limit their ability to dive into more features while they can.
As for Mindy Kaling, trailing on the success of her book she’s also slated for her own series which is a pilot at FOX at the moment with the potential for being picked up to series.
One final nail on the coffin — James Spader is out. While he may have injected some life into a show who lost it’s lead, he was never set to be part of the show long-term and only signed a one-year deal with the intention of leaving.
It seems clear the show only has, at most, a single season left but that can easily be cut back to none if the cast doesn’t want to stay aboard the Titanic.