It looks like reports of the demise of "The Office" are a little premature. Two key figures recently shined a positive light on the future of the show as its eighth season winds down. Ben Silverman, one of the executive producers on the show, recently said that he is excited about working on the ninth season. Meanwhile, Jenna Fischer dispelled rumors that key cast members like Ed Helms, John Krasinski, and herself are preparing to leave. The actress said that all actors are willing to come back, but NBC must pull the trigger and renew the show. It looks like the fate of "The Office" lies in the hands of the network and not the cast and crew.
For the last month or so, the future of this cornerstone sitcom was looking grim. James Spader is leaving after this season while Mindy Kaling and Rainn Wilson have new shows lined up. The unsigned contracts of the other key actors seemed to suggest that "The Office" was ready to close shop. There was even talk about a new version of the show being produced for next season. Meanwhile, the ratings were starting to tank for the top NBC show on Thursday nights. The reasons for cancelling were starting to look much bigger than the reasons for bringing it back. However, it turns out that the decision might not be as much about the cast as it might be about NBC. If the actors really are willing to return, why would NBC be hesitant to renew the series?
The ratings might be down, but this is still one of the most popular shows on the network. Even with changes to the cast, "The Office" remains a bigger draw than other NBC comedies. "The Office" has the kind of loyal following that most NBC programs do not have. So why is NBC waiting so long to confirm its fate? That is hard to figure out, and it might get down to the wire before a decision is made.
Maybe NBC is thinking about completely overhauling its programming as a result of being the fourth place network for years. Maybe they are waiting to see just how committed key players like Helms are to working on the ninth season. If it really is up to NBC, and they decide against bringing "The Office" back, it will likely mean that something big is in the works. Perhaps they will abandon the long tradition of comedy on Thursday nights. Whatever the case may be, the two sides will have to work together to figure out what ultimately happens. Hopefully it will be a decision that works for the fans of the show.