VAN NUYS, Calif. -- This coming Sunday's TV Week will offer a preview of the finale of "The Office" (9 and 9:30 tonight) that airs next week, and my column is largely focused on the Jim and Pam relationship which has been tested this season. (The column was written last month prior to the most recent episodes featuring a Jim-Pam reconciliation of sorts.)
The finale will air as a one-hour episode and possibly then some if executive producer Greg Daniels gets his wish.
"We’re trying to get more time and the network’s being very creative about scraping some more time together for us without, you know having us start the finale in a weird time that will cause half the audience to miss the first ten minutes or something," Daniels said in a teleconference with reporters last week. "So, we’ll see how we’re doing, but we’re still hopeful to get slightly more than an hour too."
On Tuesday, NBC announced "The Office" finale will indeed run long, 9-10:15 p.m. ("Hannibal" will air with limited commercials, 10:15-11 p.m.). Viewers planning to record the finale, you've been warned.
Daniels has said original series star Steve Carell won't be back for the finale, although several reports dispute that (see here also).
Given the way producers are ending the show -- a final round of post-documentary interviews -- it seems like Michael Scott would have to come back for at least a quick interview. In that conference call last week, Daniels suggested Carell would not return but he doesn't rule it out definitively: "Well, you know I think that Steve felt, which I agree with that that 'Goodbye Michael' episode was his goodbye, and that he didn’t want to overshadow the endings that the other characters deserved after all these years, you know, and so I think he made a good call."
Read more after the jump. ...
The finale episode takes place a few months after the documentary about the office staff airs on PBS, a format somewhat similar to the last episode of the British "The Office" that looked at life after David Brent (Ricky Gervais) left the office.
"We didn’t start off with that as the finale,” Daniels said. “This year, the plan was to air the documentary in Episode 17, and as we got closer and closer to that point the writers and I would have furious debates and we ended up having promos air for the documentary at that point. And we kind of, I think, got the best of what we were looking for, in terms of the characters seeing old footage and everything.
“But, we thought it would be difficult to have a bunch of episodes afterwards after it had aired,” Daniels continued, “and so we kind of ended up pushing it off and off, and then it ended up being more close to the British show. ... After attempting to beat that ending a number of different ways, I think we kind of ended up very similarly.”
And if you missed coverage of the show's cast in Scranton last weekend, it's worth reading some of the stories and photos from the festivities.