One-hour Office special coming!

There is something very interesting in an article about The Office’s popularity at the iTunes Store, as reported by Newsday’s Verne Gay:

Paul Lieberstein, one of “The Office’s” executive producers (who also plays human resources manager Toby) says that when the iTunes effect kicked in last December, “it was this huge gift that made everyone kind of go ‘Wait, what’s going on with that show?'”

Ever since then, “The Office” has paid almost as much attention to iTunes as to NBC. For example, “because people are watching more than once, it’s become one more reason for us to to be very careful to include subtle things as well as broad physical stuff,” Lieberstein says. The iTunes effect hasn’t hurt in attracting big-name directors either; Harold Ramis will direct an hour-long episode to air around Christmas, while “Lost’s” J.J. Abrams is on board for a February one.

Uh, ex-SQUEEZE me? An HOUR-LONG episode?! Did I read that right?

And J.J. Abrams? Wow.

Read How iTunes saved ‘The Office’ and post your thoughts.

Update: Jenna’s confirmed that yes, there will be an hour-long Office Christmas special next month! A supersized episode this month, and a superDUPERsized episode next month. YOWSAH!

SuicideGirls interviews Paul Lieberstein

Daniel Robert Epstein of interviews Paul Lieberstein (a writer for The Office who also plays “Toby” the human resources guy).

This is one of the best writing-centric interviews I’ve read in awhile.

Here’s an excerpt:

DRE: In the casino episode Michael went all in on the first in a game of Texas hold ’em and Toby had a pretty darn good hand, two Jacks, but it’s not even two kings or two aces.

: It’s pretty clear that Michael was bluffing. It was a ridiculous thing to do. There was a very subtle little bit there because Toby is just willing to call him out. There was another scene with a suggestion box meeting. One of suggestions was “You have bad breath” and Michael said that could be for anyone and Toby said “Aren’t these suggestions for you?” That was past anything Toby had done before in terms of trying to insult Michael. It was a lot of fun saying that one little line.

Read the full interview here (warning: NSFW).

Thanks, Daniel, for sending this in!

The Office panel discussion at USC

The University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinema-Television is presenting a panel discussion with The Office’s creative team this Sunday, July 30th:

Panelists will include:

Co-Executive Producer Paul Lieberstein, who also plays “Toby”
Co-Executive Producer Kent Zbornak
Supervising Producer BJ Novak, who also plays “Ryan” (the temp)
Director Ken Whittingham
Staff Writer and USC Alum Caroline Williams

This event is free!

Thanks, Aaron! And I hope if you or any other OT readers attend, that y’all come back with a full report. :)

Update 7/31: I am tagging this post with a SPOILER WARNING so that people who attended the discussion can feel free to post comments about the upcoming season!

Interview with The Office webisode writers

IGN has a fantastically meaty interview with webisode writers Michael Schur and Paul Lieberstein (“Toby”).

An excerpt:

Schur says that they shot the webisodes “in two days, and it was basically like we focused on the accountants and whoever else wasn’t shooting in the episode that was being shot at the same time. We would pull them in and we would schedule their scenes around the larger shooting schedule. Basically, the idea was, like Paul said, to do 10 little vignettes and basically [have] one focus on the accountants — and then give one side-character the kind of like starring role for each individual episode, as a way to just sort of involve as many people as we could.”

Besides talking about the webisodes, the article also details The Office’s writing process in general, something I have always found fascinating.

There’s even a little plot point revealed about Season 3!

Read the full article here.

Thanks to OT reader DS for pointing me to this article!

Office nominated for 2006 Writers Guild Awards

The Office was nominated for three Writers Guild Awards:

  • COMEDY SERIES. The Office, written by Jennifer Celotta, Gregory M. Daniels, Lee Eisenberg, Ricky Gervais, Mindy Kaling, Paul B. Lieberstein, Stephen Merchant, B.J. Novak, Michael Schur, Gene Stupnitsky, Larry Wilmore
  • NEW SERIES. The Office, written by Jennifer Celotta, Gregory M. Daniels, Lee Eisenberg, Ricky Gervais, Mindy Kaling, Paul B. Lieberstein, Stephen Merchant, B.J. Novak, Michael Schur, Gene Stupnitsky, Larry Wilmore
  • EPISODIC COMEDY, any length, one airing time. Diversity Day (The Office), written by B.J. Novak

For the complete list of nominees, click here.