The Office eyes new spinoff



Producers look for marquee names: Story

BRANCH PLANT: In a move the industry watchers are attributing to new head of programming Ben Silverman’s regime, NBC is apparently readying an Office spin-off, in which the new characters will be introduced in an Office episode before being sent off to their satellite series.


According to a TV Guide story, none of the cast of The Office will be spun off into the new show, a la Private Practice, which took Kate Walsh from Grey’s Anatomy when it debuted this fall. The show’s producers are apparently already looking around for a name actor to top the show’s marquee, and while writer Michael Ausiello comes up with a list of possibilities – Mike Myers, Jim Carrey, Ed O’Neill – readers’ comments weren’t so enthusiastic about the whole idea.


“DON'T DO THIS TO A FABULOUS SHOW THAT HAS NOT HAD A BAD EPISODE YET!” writes emily052. “NBC, I know you couldn't care less about your actual viewers but please don't do this,” adds typerk. “NOOOOOOOOO! Seriously? Spinoffs are the kiss of death. I don't care about Frasier. This is a terrible, terrible idea. Terrible,” writes heymardie, who clearly thinks this would be terrible.


Some of the commenters make the sage point that this season’s supersized, one-hour Office episodes bear are already too full of padding, and that they doubt if the creative well will be able to feed another show. I’m a bit more chastened with my opinion, having been one of the critics who assailed NBC for their audacity in adapting Ricky Gervais’ original British Office for an American audience, and who had to make a meal of my words when the result turned out to be more than merely watchable, and popular to boot.

If Silverman and NBC can pull another rabbit out of their hat with this – the world of IT support seems like a ripe setting – then I’m not going to kvetch about the possibility of another decent show on primetime. But hey – it could stink like low tide by the trawler docks is all I’m saying.

In related news, the first victim of the threatened writers’ strike is another Heroes: Origins, a spin-off of NBC’s Heroes that’s been shelved before the first guild member puts down their pen (or is it shuts off their laptop?) The strike, which was threatened for yesterday morning, might still happen tomorrow, depending on a strike vote happening tonight in Los Angeles. If it all blows over, NBC might revive the six-episode show, which was scheduled to air in the spring, and which already had several name directors attached, including Kevin Smith and Eli (Hostel) Roth.

Of course, this season of Heroes has been duller than Playboy in Braille, so NBC might consider a good, long strike to be a blessing in disguise. As should we all.