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January 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Paul Lieberstein as Toby Flenderson on The Office

Steve Carell will leave NBC’s The Office a month before the season finale, and the remaining four episodes will concern the chaos that ensues when the show’s regular characters vie for his job, producer Paul Lieberstein has told New York magazine’s Vulture blog. “If the show was ending, it would be about [Carell’s character leaving]. But it’s not,” Lieberstein said. Asked whether the final episode will reveal Carrell’s replacement, Lieberstein replied, “I can’t say yet,” adding that he will be looking at “internal and external candidates” for the starring role, including guest stars, among them Kathy Bates who will be returning to appear in “a few episodes” at the end of the season. In fact, head writer Daniel Chun told Vulture that the new boss may not necessarily be the new star. “Most shows are about all the underlings. I could see a world where Kelly [played by Mindy Kaling] becomes the boss, and it’s not a show about Kelly.”