Paul Lieberstein leaves The Office showrunner spot

From The Hollywood Reporter:

NBC is searching for a new showrunner to replace Paul Lieberstein on its top-rated comedy The Office, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. 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 is currently developing.

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  1. This brings a whole new meaning to Michael’s song “Goodbye Toby” So sad!
    However, we must always remember, there is such a thing as good grief, just ask Charlie Brown

  2. I almost don’t mind this, if the show is to have any long-term future, perhaps it’s best to get some new blood in there…

  3. Oh my God. Please end this show I love so much before it’s even more of a shell of its former self than it is right now. PLEASE. I’m seriously begging you.

    I will not watch this show with half the cast and different showrunners. Should have burned the building down when I had the chance.

  4. Paul seemed to hold the show together well when Greg Daniels departed as showrunner. When Paul and Jen Celotta were showrunners, I thought they did an admirable job taking over. Without them, and with arguably the best writer (Mindy Kaling) leaving, as well as the head writer (Danny Chun), the show is on shaky ground. The possibility/likelihood of Dwight leaving just reenforces that.

    Maybe order a shortened 9th season, 10-13 episodes. Get Dwight, Kelly and Toby in the majority of those. End it with the entire gang going to Michael’s wedding. Have Greg Daniels write it, with Paul Feig directing. That’s the only way I can see a successful ending to the show.

    Tanster, any idea why Celotta left and what she’s up to these days? I don’t see her having any credits on anything recently.

  5. This does not necessarily mean he is leaving the show completely. He might just be taking on a lesser role that will not take 100% of his time.

  6. For 8 seasons, I have LOVED The Office. This latest article just intensifies my desire for the series to end this season, rather than fizzle out with a Season 9. What is left to keep it the show we all fell in love with if Paul, Rainn, Mindy, Daniel Chun, etc. are moving on to other projects? I am one who would cheer for a strong ending in a few weeks to a great show!

  7. I hope this doesn’t mean the end of Toby. He is one of my favorite characters – we even named one of our dogs Toby after him!

    I think the bigger news in the TV Guide story is that Ed & John might not be back for the full season. “Next year would likely be the last season for both actors, as their film careers take off. A source close to Helms says the actor would like to return, at least for part of the year…” If the show is hemorrhaging talent like this (and adding drek like Nellie), than perhaps next year should be the last. It’s been a great run.

  8. Very mixed emotions about this. Sad that Paul, Rainn, Mindy and Danny are leaving, but I agree that it might give the show a new energy. Excited though about the prospect of B.J. possibly being new showrunner – I’m really hoping that happens as he knows the show so well. Also, it sounds like Jim, Pam and Andy will be the main focus of next season. I think it’s definitely sounding like next season will be the last one – if these articles are anything to go by, it seems it’ll be the last one for both Ed and John anyway. That makes me really sad – I never want The Office to end! I know people prefer that the show end rather than get bad, but I’m really going to miss these characters.

  9. Come on, one last special about Michael’s wedding with everyone in it and we can quit… :(

  10. Producers of The Office and NBC Execs: If you are reading this please end the show next year with an 8-10 episode season. Pay Steve Carell as much as it takes for him to do the last episode or two and let’s call it a day. Oh and please no Dwight spinoff. That sounds awful.

  11. I will certainly watch a show led by Ellie Kemper if they also give bigger roles to other characters in the office. I am going to miss Kelly and Andy though. :-(

  12. I can’t decide if I’m rooting for or against The Farm. If it succeeds, then Dwight’s hilarity continues well beyond it would if he stayed. But if The Farm fails, Rainn Wilson (and Paul Lieberstein) return to The Office, and it lasts longer than it would without Dwight.

  13. It really is sad to think that a show this great will go out with a fizzle instead of the bang it deserves, though somehow I’m not surprised that’s the direction it’s heading. Fortunately for me there have been many episodes in the past that I can pretend were series finales: Niagara, Goodbye Michael, heck I can even convince myself that the Search Committee season finale from last season works as a finale of sorts. It seems like they already know where they’re headed this season, so if it doesn’t return for a ninth, we may never have any sense of closure around the show. Perhaps they’d be willing to do an Office movie at some point…

  14. This season has been great with some of my all time favorite episodes like Spooked and Pool Party. I do not think the show is fizzling.

  15. Kelly has long been one of my favourite characters, with Toby not far behind so I’d be sad if they left. Having said that, Paul’s reign as showrunner has been a bit of a mixed bag. Perhaps that is unfair since he took over in the later seasons when the show is less fresh. But if they get the right person to run things, there’s no reason the show can’t still be good. The Florida episodes proved there is life in the old dog yet.

  16. I don’t think that Paul is leaving The Office. He’s just shifting focus more on “The Farm” so he won’t be so stressed and having to deal with all of the show’s behind-the-scenes. And he said after about 8 or 9 seasons, they might do a movie. So fingers crossed!

  17. I think the show peaked in seasons 2 & 3. 4 & 5 were very good seasons that were occasionally recycled, and 6-8 have been completely recycled plots and characters becoming caricatures. If the top goal of the show was quality and creativity, they would have let about 5 or 6 characters go years ago and refreshed the show. Lieberstein had the unenviable task of writing new storylines for characters that had been played out for a few seasons already. Succeeding in this new Dwight show will be very tough.

  18. If I can recall, I can remember people being disgruntled with Paul being the showrunner. But what lies ahead for Season 9 can be great like Jessie said.

    I’m optimistic Season 9 will be great and if BJ were to be the showrunner, that’d be just awesome. Also, I don’t think Paul is leaving the Office, he’s just shifting gears towards The Farm, which I’m still not on board with, but hey, if it’s got anything from the Office in it, I’ll be there watching.

  19. I do want it to go out with a bang, not a fizzle as Matt #16 says! If so many key characters are going to be missing next year, it’s really not worth it to continue on another season where it will look like a last season Happy Days where you don’t recognize a single original character. This isn’t Law and Order or ER – we fell in love with the consistent Office cast and their stories. The ever changing new blood isn’t cutting it (Nellie?? Why??? Writer boredom?) when there’s a wealth of talent within the ensemble already on the show. Wish I was looking forward to the spinoff but it seems all Joanie and Chachi to me. It makes me sad how many of the show participants’ ambitions affected the quality of the show — this really shouldn’t be the case. We all get promoted at work at some point, but our companies continue to do great work, right? It should have been the same here. I’ve been a die hard fan since season 1 and I’m sad we might not have a proper send off. Sorry for being a grump – this makes me sad.

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