For most of the TV season, fans of "The Office" assumed the show would be coming back for a ninth and final season. However, that sentiment has quickly changed course. Now there is talk of a major cast overhaul, and the ratings for the show have tanked. Seeing that May sweeps are just around the corner, and the future of the show is up in the air, the chances of "The Office" returning in its current form are fading away. For many longtime fans of the show, the writing is on the wall. Maybe "The Office" would be better off fading away than to return in watered-down form.
The low point for "The Office" came on Thursday, April 12. The show drew a series-low 4.4 million viewers. A rerun of "The Big Bang Theory" in the same time slot drew twice as many viewers. What once was a cornerstone of Thursday night programming seems like it is suddenly past its prime. "The Office" is losing the interest of the key 18-49 demographic, and there aren't a whole lot of reasons to be optimistic for the remainder of the season.
Greg Daniels has recently discussed the idea of overhauling the show, and it is easy to understand why. Steve Carell is already gone. James Spader is leaving at the end of this season. Actors and producers Mindy Kaling and Paul Lieberstein have one foot out the door. Rainn Wilson is headed for a spin-off. To make matter worse, key stars like Ed Helms, John Krasinski, and Jenna Fischer have yet to sign on for a ninth season. If it hasn't happened by now, it doesn't seem like it will happen at all. This begs the question. Would you rather see the show end after this season or see it return with an unrecognizable cast?
Given the circumstances, there is really no point in bringing "The Office" back for another season unless Helms, Krasinski, and Fischer sign those contracts. Without them, there is simply no show. It doesn't make any sense to bring in a whole new cast this late in the game either. "Scrubs" tried a similar strategy in its last season, and it flopped. Daniels and his crew would be better off creating an entirely new series with a new title.
Hopefully, this is resolved as quickly as possible. It is starting to look like it will be a sad ending for a show that had a great run. That isn't fair to the people behind the show or the fans. The producers have a responsibility to end the series on a high note. With the ratings down and the future grim, it might be better to close things out positively than to try and cling on for one more year. It's not too late to restore the pride in this iconic show.
- Arts & Entertainment