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The Real Reason Why Steve Carell Left 'The Office': 'It Was Absolutely Asinine

Gettyimages | Frederick M. Brown
By Brian Morales

Since it is the 15th anniversary of one of TV's best comedies, The Office, it is only appropriate that we look back at the series' legacy, and uncover some of the things that happened behind the scenes.

If you haven't seen the show (for some reason), Steve Carell played the quirky, and awkward boss of Dunder Mifflin. His performance absolutely carried the show, and without him, would not have reached the heights that it did. But why exactly did Carell leave the show in season 7?

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Trouble in The Office

Gettyimages | David McNew

A majority of the fans were distraught to see him go, so much so, that some actually stopped watching the show after his departure. In the book “The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s” by Andy Greene, it is revealed that Carell never actually wanted to leave the show.

According to some of the crew members that worked on the show for a few years, the exit came about from conflict between NBC, and Steve Carell.

The Deadline

Gettyimages | NBC

Sound mixer Brian Wittle and hairstylist Kim Ferry commented on the situation, and confirmed that Carell really did not want to leave:

"He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years…He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he’s willing to sign another contract. And the deadline came for when [they were] supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn’t make him an offer. So his agent was like, ‘Well, I guess they don’t want to renew you for some reason.’.”

"It was absolutely Asinine"

Gettyimages | Kevin Winter

Casting director for the show, Allison Jones, was absolutely dumbfounded by NBC's indecision:

"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."

How could it be that a successful show like The Office would lose its best asset because of some seemingly random indecision from the studio. This could've happened due to some different feelings about the show at NBC.

Goodbye, Michael

Gettyimages | NBC

At the time of this predicament, NBC was in the middle of changing leaders from Jeff Zucker to Bob Greenblatt. It turned out that Greenblatt wasn't nearly the fan of The Office they thought he'd be.

One of the producers of The Office recalls that Greenblatt was "not as big a fan of ‘The Office’ as we wished he would’ve been. He took ‘The Office’ for granted."

And without an offer, or any kind of confirmation of a next season for Carell, the actor moved on, "If you’re not respected and don’t even get offered a contract or a discussion of a future contract, then you move on." said the producers. They said that Carell really did not want to leave the show, and would've continued, it was devastating to see him go.

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