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B.J. Novak Quits

I am – Hercules!!

B.J. Novak, who has played Ryan Howard on “The Office” since its first American episode in 2005, will not be back for the series’ ninth season, according to Entertainment Weekly. Behind the scenes, Novak was also a writer-producer on the show.

The door is open for Novak to return on a rucurring basis.

Novak’s fellow “Office” writer-producer Mindy Kaling, who played Ryan’s longtime off-again girlfriend Kelly Kapoor since episode two, won’t be returning to “The Office” either, as she is currently writing, producing and starring in Fox’s fast-approaching new sitcom “The Mindy Project.”

Novak is an executive producer on “The Mindy Project. In 2008, he left “The Office” for a number of episodes to play Private Smithson “The Little Man” Utivich in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds.”

James Spader, who joined the cast at the end of season seven, won’t be back as Robert California next season. All other longtime cast members, including Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, John Krasinki and Ed Helms, are returning.

Greg Daniels (“King of the Hill,” “Parks and Recreation”), who masterminded the American version of “The Office” since its inception, has been less active in writing the series in recent years but has indicated he will take a more active role in the series’ upcoming season.

Find all of EW’s story on the matter here.

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Readers Talkback
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  • June 27, 2012, 3:59 p.m. CST

    THE OFFICE is finished

    by Rob

    It will go out with a whimper

  • June 27, 2012, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Ryan was never an intern.....

    by OldDickLemon

    He was a temp, then employee. I sure would like a solid sprint to the finish line for a show that used to be really great. I think the final season should be devoted to the "documentary" finally coming out and do EVERYTHING you can to get Carrell and as many cameo's from the departed worked into the home stretch.

  • June 27, 2012, 4:13 p.m. CST

    Jesus, just kill this freaking show, already...

    by Leto III

    ...Seriously. Put it out of our collective misery. It's only hanging around on life-support because the network is in near-last place in the ratings right now. Novak has the right idea, re: getting the hell out. You can tell from interviews that it's something he's wanted to do for a couple of years now.

  • June 27, 2012, 4:25 p.m. CST


    by don

    It's always helpful when you idiots identify yourselves up front.

  • June 27, 2012, 4:29 p.m. CST

    Still going on?

    by erik_a

    I thought this past season was supposed to be its last one. I was quite surprised to see it sign on for another season. Too bad. I hate it when shows try to hang on. They should go out on a high note, not a whimper.

  • He could bring back some of that Park and Rec magic.

  • June 27, 2012, 4:45 p.m. CST

    the show is going to get better next year...

    by Melanie Griffiths Sour Patch

    ...and all the haters are going to have to suck it. Losing Kaling and Novak will only help the show. The show was better in the 2nd half of the season last year and they are going to make some big changes for next season.

  • June 27, 2012, 4:50 p.m. CST

    me too herc

    by Joe Walsh

    Though Ryan and Kelly seemed the most grounded in the recent season. Sad to see them go.

  • June 27, 2012, 4:54 p.m. CST

    Never understood why he got a main credit

    by SifoDyasJr

    He was more of a background player than some of the background players. Once his NYC storyline played out, they should have written him out of the show. His character was mostly pointless after that.

  • June 27, 2012, 4:59 p.m. CST

    Just for once, couldn't you finish a series on a high?

    by Farrokh

    Why do American producers have to string them out for so long?

  • June 27, 2012, 5:24 p.m. CST

    Ry-yan started the fi-yure. . .

    by WerePlatypus

  • June 27, 2012, 5:27 p.m. CST

    When will SCHRUTE FARMS (aka AFTER OFFICE) debut?

    by Drunken Busboy

    Will it debut when THE OFFICE ends? Or run while THE OFFICE is still being produced? Will Rainn Wilson do both shows? Or will he leave THE OFFICE? In my opinion if Rainn leaves then THE OFFICE is no more? I am bummed about ROBERT CALIFORNIA being written out of the show. I loved that character. I didn't at first but he grew on me then I found the character brilliantly written. Bring back Kathy Bates!

  • June 27, 2012, 5:34 p.m. CST

    yeah i didnt even finish the season

    by saintsaucey

    Just kill it. The last really great episode was the wedding of jim and pam. And that was only because of the muted wedding/boat ride was such a touching moment.

  • June 27, 2012, 5:36 p.m. CST


    by PatientZer0

    I agree that the American version is superior. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the British version and I think there are aspects of it that are head and shoulders over the US version, but the cast (with a few notable exceptions) of the US version was just much stronger and more defined. The British version suffered from character claustrophobia...that is to say you were always in tight with one of about 4 people with almost no interaction from anyone else. All that being said, Gareth fucking SLAYS ME. He's the funniest thing about either show, IMHYIO. End of Line.

  • June 27, 2012, 5:38 p.m. CST


    by PatientZer0

    Actually that opening sentence should have said: I agree that the American version *was* superior. The recent seasons have been a little flat for me.

  • The UK one had, what, like 12-14 episodes? Less than 20 if memory serves? That's less than one US season. If you compare the two after the same timeframe? I think the UK one was far superior, and had a lot more depth and empathy.

  • June 27, 2012, 5:52 p.m. CST

    re "When will SCHRUTE FARMS (aka AFTER OFFICE) debut?"

    by Hercules

    they're targeting next spring

  • June 27, 2012, 6 p.m. CST


    by PatientZer0

    I took the different lengths into account. But even if we look at just the first 28 episodes of the US version (A rough equivalent to the 14 hour long episodes of the UK) I still feel that the supporting characters were better defined and utilized. I suppose I should have specified that I meant supporting characters (the main characters were all treated with great depth, as you said) and specified that I meant more (as in more numerous) defined characters. The UK version, like I said, only had it's real focus on the 4 main characters for any length of time and never defined the rest of the office except in very small doses. The US version however gave lots of screen time (relatively speaking, of course) to the supporting cast and I think it benefits from it pretty substantially. All of that being said, I agree that the UK version had (in some cases) better characterization and empathy with their lead characters but overall (just my opinion here) the US version made me laugh more. That's really how it falls down to me.

  • June 27, 2012, 7:23 p.m. CST

    The Last Season...

    by mackmm

    ...was a struggle to watch even though I enjoy the show and the characters in general here are my major complaints they seemed to run in circles beating a dead horse and when it ended it was a quick and dirty, relying on Helm's is awkwardness as the main humor. Pam was absent for a majority of the season Ed Helms needed to stick to his wheelhouse rather than trying to do a zany Steve Carell Zach Woods (Gabe) character fetishes are always entertaining, but when they had Spader's over the top libido it got bothersome. Why even bother with California's ex having a thing for Andy if 1. they never did anything about it 2. had very little awkward humor, it was the punch line to the episode 3. Andy was already torn between 2 loves, so it was lost. Craig Robinson (Darryl) should have had been featured more. He has become better with the camera reaction, than Jim/Tim Rainn Wilson, Brian Baumgartner, and Craig Robinson had by far the best writing for their characters followed closely by the rest of the minor players. Highlights: - Dwight's Garden Party- Garden Party - Gabe performing as Lincoln- Gettysburg - Kevin's Character got more great lines - Ryan's/Jim's Tallahassee speech - Dwight and Jim finally forming a bond Under-utilized plots & characters -Dwight's kid -Darryl & Val -Weird warehouse guy -Lack of Pam and Jim's relationship probably hurt with mainstream fans Failed or Over-utilized plots and characters -Robert California is Kinky, we get it -Andy's: Love Life, family woes, struggles to lead, and struggle to get his job back (Not entirely Helm's fault, after 7 seasons of focus on Michael Scott not sure the audience wanted to see Andy's struggles or anyone's. Should have hired a person, not even show them on camera and shift focus to the office. - Catherine Tate as Nellie was too Morpheus a character only Gervais pulled off the love him-hate him awkwardness of leadership.

  • June 27, 2012, 7:26 p.m. CST

    Without insulting the British?

    by Terrence

    The British insult us all the time, unapologetically at that, so I don't really feel the need to tiptoe if something we do is better. =P

  • June 27, 2012, 8:05 p.m. CST

    Ed Helms ruins this show

    by Ed

    Aside from a few musical numbers he should sit in the back with Toby.

  • June 27, 2012, 8:50 p.m. CST

    I agree warpburton

    by Mel_Gibsons_Nazi_Dad

    Ed Helms is not a leading man

  • June 27, 2012, 9:10 p.m. CST

    "A Benihana Christmas" is the only episode I give a shit about.

    by tylerzero

  • June 27, 2012, 9:15 p.m. CST

    Yes, moving Ed Helms to the Carrel role killed the show

    by Bass Ackwards

    Making him the focus, and the retarded, Erin-Andy relationship the heart of the show was just a poor decision all around. The show had a brief bright period when they went to Florida and came back with Tate as boss, and I think that was largely due to Helms being shoved to the background of those episodes. When the show was trying to make him the character we root for, it was just lazy, relying on drawn out sentimentality for poorly written characters that were not at all worth caring about. And its good that BJ and Mindy are leaving, the writers clearly ran out of ideas for these two characters seasons ago, devolving them into gag characters that add little more then a punchline every now and then.

  • June 27, 2012, 9:25 p.m. CST

    Michael Scott ruined the show.

    by Charlie

    Sure he was behind much of what was good. The character, especially towards the end just wasn't working. The problem was that he never felt real or consistent. The show picked up when he left. No one wants to admit it though.

  • June 27, 2012, 10:08 p.m. CST

    The show is infinitely better without Carrel

    by gruntybear

    When every show isn't Michael Scott-centered, it has much more room to breathe. It's just less fake "wacky" now, which translates much better.

  • June 27, 2012, 10:17 p.m. CST

    @ gruntybear I agree

    by Charlie

  • June 27, 2012, 11:09 p.m. CST

    Nothing will greatly change

    by SirFlibble

    Ryan has barely been a necessary character for at least 4 seasons. He wont be missed.

  • and, apparently, makes a lot of people on here happy as well

  • June 28, 2012, 12:15 a.m. CST

    Canceling this show would be

    by Wheel99

    a Mercy Killing

  • June 28, 2012, 3:12 a.m. CST

    @ patientzer0

    by Larrythefatcat

    There are most decidedly not 14 hour-long episodes of the UK version of The Office... there are, in fact, no hour-long episodes of that show. The two series consist of 6 30-ish minute episodes and the Christmas special has halves totaling about 45 and 50 minutes each... so the halves of the special are as close as it gets. ...I think I had a point to go along with that, but it's gone...

  • June 28, 2012, 5:41 a.m. CST

    The Ricky Gervais version is undoubtedly the best

    by the_scream

    There shouldn't even be a debate on this. The UK office was not only funnier but it always felt real and went out with everyone wanting more. The US version is good but it's the kind of show you might have on while you are doing something else. UK version, you hang on every scene and every word. One of the greatest comedies of all time that spawned countless copies.

  • June 28, 2012, 8:14 a.m. CST

    "rucurring" is not a word

    by menacingphantom

    spell chuck please...

  • June 28, 2012, 10:08 a.m. CST

    Sorry to be nitpicky, but this is a geek site after all...

    by Kremzeek

    Kaling has been playing Novak's onscreen girlfriend since *Season 2*, not episode 2. In the first season Kaling's character was little more than an Indian stereotype. It was in Season 2 they branched out her character and had her start dating Novak's.

  • June 28, 2012, 10:18 a.m. CST

    Why was Novak always in the title credits

    by Gregorso

    even when he often did not appear in the episode? I know he did writing and producing, but that deserves a writer/producer credit, not an acting credit if he had no lines in an episode. I think Novak is brilliant, but still...

  • June 28, 2012, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Oh and they should've ended the show tih Carell's departure

    by Kremzeek

    Probably goes without saying. I'm an Office fanatic. I've seen every episode of Seasons 1-7 at least 50 times each (that's not an exaggeration). But it should've ended with Carell leaving. I tried watching a couple Season 8 episodes and they were unbearably bad.

  • June 28, 2012, 10:21 a.m. CST

    **tih = with

    by Kremzeek

    And they weren't "unbearably bad". I may have been exaggerating a bit. But they weren't funny or fun to watch. That's for sure.

  • June 28, 2012, 10:37 a.m. CST


    by Kremzeek

    See, that's the thing. There *should* be a debate because I think exactly the opposite. Gervais is a genius, no doubt, but the US Office is about 1000x funnier (well, until it started to trail off in S5). I could never truly get into the UK version, though I tried many times. Your opinion is not fact.

  • June 28, 2012, 10:56 a.m. CST


    by Kremzeek

    Yeah, I always wondered that too. He gets a full starring credit even though he's hardly even on the show? The only season he deserved a star credit was Season 4 when he was Michael's boss. Other than that, he's not on the show enough to warrant it. But, it's all about contracts. He must've negotiated a good one.

  • June 28, 2012, 2:36 p.m. CST


    by Redmantle

    50 times each? Are you a shut in? Or do you just play the episodes on a continuous loop...

  • June 28, 2012, 4:17 p.m. CST

    BJ Novak sucks at stand up

    by Cobb05

    I was watching someone of his stuff online cause I heard he did stand up, so I was curious. He's horrible. What's more sad is that Judd Apatow was on an HBO Young Comedians special and he was BAD. Like cringe-worthy bad.

  • June 28, 2012, 5:45 p.m. CST


    by Kremzeek

    Yes, I'm a shut-in. Are you making fun of me? Nah, I'm just kidding. Yeah, pretty much you got it. It's a comfort show. Meaning, I pretty much have it playing somewhere in the house at all times, haha. And I fall asleep to TV or films every night. I have a hard time sleeping otherwise. So, in my subconcious I've probably seen each episode 200+ times.

  • June 28, 2012, 11:03 p.m. CST

    Nine seasons is too much for ANY show

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    I read a TV critic once who said that every show should be limited to five seasons or 100 episodes, whichever comes first, and he was pretty much ONE show that runs for 10 or more seasons and 200+ episodes that's every bit as good by the end as it was at it's creative peak, and I'll eat my hat.

  • June 29, 2012, 9:41 a.m. CST

    nasty in the pasty

    by ChestRockwell

    I'd say The Simpsons was as good in the seasons after the first 10. But I'd also say that once you get out to about 10 years, even if you've been a fan, you stop watching a searies. The Simpsons was one of my favorites, but I quit watching at some point. Of course, I buy the seasons I missed thinking I'll catch up, but deep down I know I'll never get around to watching them (along with the hundreds of other DVD's I've bought that I'll never get around to watching). Stupid job taking up all my time.

  • June 29, 2012, 9:42 a.m. CST

    I meant "series" for those spell checkers out there

    by ChestRockwell

  • June 29, 2012, 10:44 a.m. CST

    @nasty in the pasty

    by jim

    Cheers (11 seasons, 275 episodes) Do you want some dipping sauce to go with that hat?

  • June 29, 2012, 10 p.m. CST

    I'll give you Cheers, admittedly (NOM-NOM-NOM)

    by Nasty In The Pasty

    But that's a RARE exception.

  • July 3, 2012, 1:03 p.m. CST

    @nasty in the pasty

    by Jordan

    King of the Hill (13 seasons, 259 episodes) Dip it in water so it can go down more easily.