Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

TUNED IN [Derived Headline]

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

TUNED IN [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

Last week's news that the upcoming ninth season of NBC's "The Office" (returning at 9 p.m. Sept. 20) will be the show's last was surprising only because NBC is allowing the show to end. Creatively, "The Office" was spent once Michael Scott (Steve Carell) left. This is not a minority opinion -- when I tweeted about the end of the show last week, just about every response I received was along the lines of, "About time."

But ratings for "The Office" remained, compared to the rest of NBC's schedule, relatively strong. So credit NBC for its willingness to let the show go out now rather than continuing to limp along for several more seasons.

Even for disenchanted fans, there's reason for optimism about this new season. Executive producer Greg Daniels who ran the show for the first five years, returns as showrunner for this last season. He's taking the gloves off, story-wise, and expressed a willingness to make plot turns a show not in its last season would be afraid to make.

In a teleconference with reporters last week, Daniels acknowledged that part of the impetus for ending after the ninth season is that several key cast members -- most likely John Krasinski and Ed Helms, among others -- would probably want to move on after this season. Daniels wanted to give their characters closure.

"We have 15 of the veteran cast members coming back this season ... and they all have a lot of exciting opportunities so it didn't seem to me like we could count on getting that many people back for Season 10," Daniels said, noting he's always felt Jim and Pam were the heart and soul of "The Office." "Back in the early days I had an inkling of what to do to end that storyline and to see the possibility of that never happening I thought was a very compelling thing to try and grab and that the most loyal fans of the show would really want to see that happen."

"We are going to explore that for comedy and for story effect," Daniels said. "I think we are going to see who is behind the documentary and we are going to meet some of them. …

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