A day that not long ago fans couldn’t see coming is finally getting a countdown. NBC has announced that the long-running comedy The Office will be calling the next season its last. The sitcom that spoke to a generation with its lighthearted and sometimes irreverent documentary style is turning out the lights and closing the doors after nine solid seasons.
The series, which follows the inner workings of the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch office of the Dunder Mifflin paper company and the exploits of its absurd staff, began its run in March 2005. The show was brought to American audiences by Greg Daniels, who adapted it from the original British sitcom of the same name. Daniels helmed the American version for the first four seasons before leaving to create the show Parks And Recreation. It has been announced that Daniels will return to man The Office in its final season saying that “This year feels like the last chance to really go out together and make an artistic ending for the show that pays off a lot of the stuff that matters most to fans.”
The demise of the much loved program comes from several sources. The show has struggled to replace figurehead Michael Scott after Steve Carell left the series in April of 2011. Attempts to reignite the spark have ranged from Will Farrell to James Spader. The Office was also looking ahead to other cast members planning to leave the series in addition to series regular Mindy Kaling heading off to lead her own show and Rainn Wilson leaving to tackle an “Office” spin-off series that will revolve around his character’s (Dwight Schrute) absurd family. Daniels was concerned about only being able to tell the story’s beginning and middle and leaving the audience without a true ending. He said, “I don’t think we would have been able to tell the ending stories of so many characters… we couldn’t count on getting everybody back for season 10.”
No doubt also a concern for NBC and the show’s creators was its sagging ratings. Despite it still ranking as NBC’s top-rated scripted entertainment show, its ratings are the lowest since its six-episode first season. It could only manage a meager 78th overall ranking in total viewers for the 2011-2012 season with only 6.5 million viewers.
All of these variables led Daniels and NBC to make the call to pull the plug. But Daniels is excited about the ninth season saying that it will be one for the fans. He promises that fans will see the conclusion of all the stories and an appropriate payoff. He also indicated that fans can expect to see the return of some familiar faces. Most importantly Daniels says that those who tune in for the final season will finally see who has been behind the camera all these years. Daniels proclaimed, “Now that we know we have an end date we can blow things up and take some chances and it will be very freeing, creatively.”