"The Office" Gets 22-Episode Third Season

TV Arts

AnonViewer
'The Office' reports strong future expansion


has blossomed in its second season into a key player in NBC's efforts
to rebuild its Thursday comedy franchise. The show also has earned a
bonus: a 22-episode third season.

Since moving to Thursdays and pairing with freshman hit My Name Is
Earl, The Office is averaging 9.2 million viewers, 1.5 million more
than in the fall and nearly 4 million more than last spring. The Office
also has scored strongly with advertiser-coveted young adults,
recording its three best outings this month, and is a top download
choice on iTunes.

And Steve Carell won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Michael Scott,
the congenitally inappropriate manager of the Dunder Mifflin paper
supply office. It marks the latest success for the former Daily Show
correspondent, whose The 40-Year-Old Virgin topped $100 million in
theaters. "I feel very lucky to have had the level of success I've
had," Carell says. "This is all very bizarre."

This domestic version of a revered British original also stars Rainn
Wilson as Dwight, the No. 2 desperate for respect; Jenna Fischer as
sweet-and-smart receptionist Pam; John Krasinski as Jim, who has a
thing for Pam and a talent for tormenting Dwight; and B.J. Novak as
office temp Ryan.

Early on, The Office earned praise from some critics, but others
compared it unfavorably to the British series. Then it found its voice,
says Angela Bromstad, president of NBC Universal studio.

Executive producer Greg Daniels "Americanized it," she says. "He went
with his actors and their personalities. He made it a little louder.
Greg went for a little bit of heart at the end of each show."

A little heart, which is a lot for oft-jaded comedy writers, may be
helping attract viewers. And millions can relate to an office
environment, the kind of routine connection not evident, for example,
on Fox's Emmy-winning, ratings-starved Arrested Development.

With a touch of emotion, "viewers become concerned about what happens
to the character," Daniels says. And the office environment works both
ways, he says, offering a healthy supply of story ideas from friends,
family and strangers even as many viewers can identify with the
drudgery.

"Pretty much anybody who's ever worked can relate to our show," Wilson
says.

To get the right feel, The Office tries to keep the set hermetically
sealed, limiting the presence of crewmembers to create a more
office-like feel. Actors do makeup touchups at their desks to limit the
time of makeup artists, and they can use their desk phones and
computers, which have Web access.

Carell says the scripts and dialogue are grounded in character and
reality. Some of the best moments come from looks or awkward pauses.

The Second City veteran says he's grateful for the improvisational
opportunities.

"It's a great thing to know that's available to you, to go off the
page," he says. "There's a looseness to try things. There's a freedom
to fail."

http://www.usatoday.com/life/television/news/2006-01-25-office_x.htm
                                            
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Steve Carell won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Michael Scott, the
congenitally inappropriate manager of the Dunder Mifflin paper supply
office. This domestic version of a revered British original also stars
Rainn Wilson as Dwight, the No. 2 desperate for respect; Jenna Fischer
as sweet-and-smart receptionist Pam; John Krasinski as Jim, who has a
thing for Pam and a talent for tormenting Dwight