When Steve Carell announced that he was leaving The Office during season seven, he called it a “dynamic change to the show, which could be a good thing, actually,” which is a nice way of saying he wanted to focus on his film career. It worked out for everyone involved — The Office is still extremely popular, even if the post-Michael Scott episodes are bumpy, and Carell was nominated for an Academy Award — but the real reason Carell left is supposedly more complicated than “he wanted to welcome us to Marwen.”
In his new book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, author Andy Greene spoke to numerous Office crew members about Carell’s exit, including boom operator/sound mixer Brian Wittle. “I sat with [Carell] one time and he told me the story. He was doing a radio interview and he haphazardly mentioned, almost unconsciously, that it might be his last season. He didn’t plan on saying it out loud and he hadn’t decided anything,” he said. “Then what he said was the people connected to the show had no reaction to it. They didn’t call and say, ‘What? You wanna leave?’ He said he didn’t get any kind of response from them… When the news broke that he was considering it, the people that are in charge of keeping him there didn’t make a big effort to do so until afterward.” Hairstylist Kim Ferry corroborated Wittle’s story (“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 did legendary casting director Allison Jones:
“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.”
Equally asinine: replacing Michael Scott with DeAngelo Vickers, however briefly.
That’s also how I feel about Carell never winning an Emmy.