'The Office' premiered fifteen years ago and most look back on and revisit the series with fondness. We can all readily admit that once Steve Carell, who played the lead Michael Scott, departed the show after seven seasons, it was never quite the same. Namely, it just wasn't as good anymore.
A new book written by Andy Greene called 'The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s' (via Collider) explores the reasons for Carell's departure in more depth.
Numerous crew members spoke to Greene about the exit. They said that NBC executives pretty much left the actor with no choice.
Carell was pushed into leaving the show after sound mixer Brian Wittle and hairstylist Kim Ferry let it slip during a radio interview that he might leave after Season 7.
The actor had actually not made up his mind at this point and Ferry says "He didn’t want to leave the show."
Ferry continued: "He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years… He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract.
"And the deadline came for when [the network was] supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn’t make him an offer. So his agent was like, ‘Well, I guess they don’t want to renew you for some reason.’ Which was insane to me. And to him, I think."
Ferry said Carell "was like, ‘Look, I told them I want to do it. I don’t want to leave. I don’t understand.’ It just is mind-boggling how that happened. And I feel bad because I think a lot of people think he did leave the show on his own merit and it’s absolutely not true. I’m telling you. I was there. He really wanted to stay. And it devastated all of us because he was the heart of our show."
Casting director Allison Jones tells a similar story: "As I recall, he was going to do another season and then NBC, for whatever reason, wouldn’t make a deal with him. Somebody didn’t pay him enough. It was absolutely asinine. I don’t know what else to say about that. Just asinine."
According to Greene, the negotiations for Carell's future on the show with NBC occurred as Bob Greenblatt took charge of the network. According to 'The Office' producer Cordray Greenblatt was "not as big a fan" of the series and "took [it] for granted.
Cordray also maintains Carell would have stayed if NBC was willing to negotiate. He says: "If you’re not respected and don’t even get offered a contract or a discussion of a future contract, then you move on."
'The Office' continued for two more seasons and ended in 2013.