The Real Reason Why Steve Carell Left ‘The Office’

Few actors have left as big a void on a TV series than Steve Carell on The Office. For seven seasons, Carell amazed with his phenomenally nuanced performance as Michael Scott—at once the world’s worst boss, but also a deeply empathetic and lonely human. After Carell’s exit in the show’s seventh season, the NBC series had serious trouble recovering, and the quality certainly dipped in its final two seasons. Some shows can soldier on with cast changes, but when it came to The Office, the series was a shell of its former self without Michael Scott.

But new revelations have pulled back the curtain on the circumstances of Carell’s exit—namely that the insanely talented performer wasn’t actually itching to leave the show at all, and was game to return for at least Season 8. Interviews in Andy Greene’s newly released book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s claim that Carell’s decision to leave The Office had more to do with network ambivalence than a burning desire to break free from the constraints of a broadcast sitcom.