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Steve Carell officially leaving 'The Office', NBC confirms

07/27/2010 by Corinne Heller

Steve Carell officially leaving 'The Office', NBC confirmsSteve Carell has officially told NBC he is leaving The Office after the upcoming 2010-2011 season, a network spokesperson confirmed on Tuesday, following numerous comments he has made about his departure.

Carell has said The Office will be able to continue to be successful without him after he leaves the show when his contract expires next year and hopes his character, the egotistical boss Michael Scott, ends up happy.

"I am leaving," Carell recently said on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. "This is my seventh season coming up so I will leave at the end of that season. I want to honor my contract and I really love the show. it's so much fun. But I just felt like it's time."

He said he was leaving to spend more time with his family. Carell and his wife Nancy have two children - Elisabeth Anne, 9 and John, 6.

"We've been lucky to have had him as long as we've had. These things happen when you have such a major movie star in a show," NBC Primetime Entertainment President Angela Bromstad told the Associated Press, adding that Carell was welcome to make return visits to the comedy series.

Carell had said last month he would leave the show when his contract expires next year. The actor, whose movie career took off after the success of the hit 2005 comedy film The 40-Year-Old Virgin, had in 2008 signed a three-year contract extension to play Scott on The Office, which is entering its seventh season.

Carell currently stars in Despicable Me, a recently-released animated 3-D film with How I Met Your Mother star Jason Segel and Get Him To the Greek star Russell Brand. He has more than a handful of movies in development and can be seen next in the comedy movie Dinner for Schmucks, which stars Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis and is released on July 30.

The Office will remain in its 9 p.m. ET Thursday time slot, Bromstad said. Meanwhile, it is still unclear who will fill the position of Carell's character. Bringing in a big-name star is an option, but "it's not the front-running idea," said Paul Lieberstein, a cast member and executive producer.

The mockumentary comedy series began in 2005 and is based on a British show by comedian Ricky Gervais, who played the boss character. The U.S. series has won four Emmys and earned four nominations at this year's awards, including Carell's fifth nod for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series.

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