Fifteen years later and the office -- or The Office, as it were -- gossip is still the talk of the water cooler. In Andy Greene's just-released oral history, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, he interviews the creators and stars of the beloved NBC series, along with the people behind the scenes of Scranton.
The book is chockablock with The Office trivia -- like, did you know Bob Odenkirk, Josh Radnor and Paul Rudd all auditioned to play Michael Scott? -- as well as at least one bombshell about the world's best boss and the real reason Steve Carell left the series after seven seasons.
"He didn't want to leave the show," Kim Ferry, head of the hair department, claims, as excerpted by Collider. "He planned on staying on the show. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he's willing to sign another contract for a couple years. So all of that was willing and ready and, on their side, honest. And the deadline came for when they were supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn’t make him an offer."
As Ferry recalls, "He 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."
So despite Carell saying in a 2010 interview with BBC that season seven of The Office would "probably be my last year," it seems that he would have stuck around Dunder Mifflin a bit longer had the brass at NBC made it happen. (For his part, then-incoming NBC chairman Bob Greenblatt recalls, "I couldn’t do anything about [Steve leaving] since it preceded me.")
"As I recall, he was going to do another season and then NBC, for whatever reason, wouldn’t make a deal with him," casting director Allison Jones weighs in. "It was absolutely asinine. I don't know what else to say about that. Just asinine."
The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s is out now, while The Office is streaming on Netflix -- though you better start binging now before it leaves.