You may have heard the news by now that NBC is considering expanding the family from “The Office” for an entirely new show, and it is set to potentially feature the adventures of one Dwight Shrute (Rainn Wilson) and his family at their beet farm / bed and breakfast. Deadline first reported the news on Wednesday, and it was quickly met as if it was the second coming of “Joey” — the short-lived sitcom featuring Matt LeBlanc’s “Friends” character soon after the show’s series finale.
First and foremost, there are some major differences here between what happened with LeBlanc and what is going on here. “The Office” has no real plans to end, and the network is in negotiations with a number of stars to return. The truth just is that Dwight’s days at Dunder-Mifflin seem to really be done. He didn’t get the promotion to manager, has clashed repeatedly with Andy, and he also just doesn’t have the same sort of storylines he had when Steve Carell’s Michael Scott was around. If the network approves the spin-off plan, the basic idea here is for the character to have the idea set up in an episode later this year, and then to ultimately depart the show in the fall. This spin-off would potentially premiere in the spring of 2013.
It’s understandable that there are skeptics about this move. Dwight is over-the-top, crass, and often not the sort of person we tend to root for — on the other hand, Frasier Crane was also not always likable or kind. The real issue here on this end seems not to be the concept (since the right supporting cast could make this work), but rather the timing. This season of “The Office” has been a disappointment, and the exit of Michael has led to lower ratings. Really, the harsh truth is that NBC should have said farewell to Scranton at the same time Carell did, but kept the show going thanks in part to it being the only real show on its comedy lineup with consistently strong ratings. If this happened and Dwight quit right away, the hype surrounding “The Shrute Show” (as we like to call it) would have ignited right away. Instead, it already feels a bit like a whimper.
The one thing we have to remember in the midst of all this is while the idea may be under consideration, that does not make it a sure thing. Rainn Wilson has already said on his Twitter not to believe “everything you read in the press,” an obvious reference to the drama currently playing out on this issue. Not only that, there’s also a continuity issue in that Michael Schur — who plays Dwight’s cousin Mose — is currently occupied courtesy of “Parks and Recreation.”
Do you think that a Shrute show could be successful, and would it have worked better if it was done following Carell’s exit?