Po­ten­tial ‘Of­fice’ spinoff mak­ing waves for show

The Washington Times Daily - - Life -

Talk about of­fice pol­i­tics. NBC is search­ing for a new show-run­ner to re­place Paul Lieber­stein on its top-rated com­edy “The Of­fice,” the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter has con­firmed.

Mr. Lieber­stein — who cur­rently heads the writ­ing staff, pro­duces and co-stars as Toby — is look­ing to shift his fo­cus from the net­work’s Thurs­day sta­ple to “The Farm,” the ru­mored Dwight Schrute spinoff the net­work cur­rently is de­vel­op­ing.

The po­ten­tial spinoff would take “Of­fice” star Rainn Wil­son out of Scran­ton and onto the Schrute fam­ily farm with Mr. Lieber­stein at­tached as a co-cre­ator. The com­edy con­cept is ex­pected to get a test later this sea­son on an episode of “The Of­fice.”

Should the farm-fo­cused project move for­ward, Mr. Lieber­stein would serve as show-run­ner while still par­tic­i­pat­ing on “The Of­fice” in a re­duced ca­pac­ity, with Mr. Wil­son de­part­ing the flag­ship se­ries al­to­gether.

The shake-up for NBC’S No. 1rated com­edy comes two months af­ter Fox picked up a com­edy pi­lot from “Of­fice” co-star Mindy Kal­ing. If or­dered to se­ries, Miss Kal­ing — whose Univer­sal Tele­vi­sion deal ex­pires in June — would de­part the NBC se­ries and fo­cus on the Fox gig.

In ad­di­tion, head writer Daniel Chun inked an over­all deal with ri­val ABC Stu­dios in late Fe­bru­ary and is also con­sid­er­ing his fu­ture with the se­ries.

For their part, “Of­fice” stars Ed Helms, John Krasin­ski and Jenna Fischer are in talks to re­turn for a ninth sea­son, sources told the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter late last month, though none has a deal in place. Mr. Helms, mean­while, has booked a guest turn in Miss Kal­ing’s un­ti­tled Fox pi­lot.

“Well I think ob­vi­ously Steve [Carell] left last year and it just opened up all kinds of pos­si­bil­i­ties and op­por­tu­ni­ties not just for my­self but the whole cast,” Mr. Helms told the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter ear­lier this month. “I think any time the boat is rocked, it’s a good thing and an ex­cit­ing thing and an op­por­tu­nity.”

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