UPDATE 5 PM: I hear the expectation is that the deal for The Office will close in time for NBC’s announcement. I also hear the order may be for 13 episodes. Is it just me or this nail-biter closely resembles the down-to-the wire renegotiations with Charlie Sheen for Two And A half Men two years ago, which didn’t close until hours before the CBS presentation.
PREVIOUS 1 PM: Less than 24 hours before NBC unveils its 2012-13 schedule tomorrow ahead of the network’s upfront presentation on Monday, NBC’s flagship comedy series The Office has not been renewed yet even as a slew of lower-rated NBC half-hours, including Parks & Recreation, 30 Rock, Up All Night, Community and Whitney already have. The delay has to do with the cast deals, which are taking longer to close. After lengthy negotiations, stars Ed Helms, John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer on Thursday reached what some described as agreement in principle but I hear negotiations with some of them have continued, picking up speed today with the clock ticking until NBC’s scheduling announcement tomorrow. I hear that the final points are being closed as we speak, clearing the way for the series’ renewal. Complicating negotiations was the fact that The Office has no showrunner in place for next season, with Paul Lieberstein leaving to run the Rainn Wilson Office spinoff, which he co-created with the actor. I hear the show will accommodate the stars’ feature engagements, including Helms’ upcoming third Hangover movie. As of two days ago, fellow cast member B.J. Novak, whose deal also is up, was not in discussions, but he has a dual role on the series as an actor and writer/executive producer.