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Will Ferrell gives 'The Office' a ratings raise; Paul Reiser's new sitcom flops

The debut of Will Ferrell on NBC’s The Office gave the comedy a ratings raise Thursday night. The Office introduced Ferrell’s potential Michael Scott replacement Deangelo Vickers and delivered 7.7 million viewers and a 3.9 adult demo rating — up 15 percent from the show’s last original episode. The Office was the night’s top-rated scripted show and sported the highest rating for the series since late January. (Though having CSI and Grey’s Anatomy in repeats couldn’t have hurt either).

The boost is also impressive considering the comedy’s poor lead-in — Paul Reiser’s new sitcom. READ FULL STORY

NBC supersizes Steve Carell's final 'Office' episode

Steve Carell’s final episode of The Office just got a promotion: NBC is “supersizing” the episode to 50 minutes.

The April 28 outing that features Carell’s final appearance as Michael Scott will run from 9-9:50 p.m. Then NBC is offering an extended episode of Parks and Recreation from 9:50-10:30 p.m. A regular 30 Rock will follow at 10:30 p.m.

NBC is pulling out all the stops for Carell’s last season, having added guest stars like Ray Romano and Will Arnett, in addition to casting Will Ferrell as a potential replacement for Scott (video clips here).

Read more:
Steve Carell finishes filming on ‘The Office’
‘The Office’: Will Arnett may be the Scranton Strangler
Could Will Ferrell join ‘The Office’ full time?

Backstage at the Comedy Awards: Eddie Murphy on 'wrong turns' like 'Pluto Nash'; Louis C.K. on his 'sh--y' night

Hey Rob Corddry, what do you think about having comedians honor comedians?

“They should do that! I think that’s a great idea,” the former Daily Show correspondent told EW at the Comedy Awards. “Just get a bunch of comedians together in black tie.” Okay, somebody’s either being really snarky or hasn’t been paying attention, since Comedy Central’s first annual awards were just that — with Corddry himself picking up the Golden Microphone for Best Sketch Comedy/Alternative Comedy Series (Childrens’ Hospital).

EW caught up with a number of the winners and presenters backstage at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, and, needless to say, others were more direct regarding how they felt about the evening. Like Louis C.K., who elaborated on his acceptance speech for Best Stand-Up Special (Louis C.K.: Hilarious), in which he declared the gala to be “the s—-iest night of my life.” “You know, I’m just exaggerating,” C.K. clarified. “But, yeah, pretty s—-y.” READ FULL STORY

'The Office': Two new clips from Will Ferrell's first episode

We still don’t know which Will Ferrell is going to show up at Dunder Mifflin Scranton next week, when the comedian’s four-episode arc on The Office begins — but these two new clips from Ferrell’s first episode, “Training Day,” do help flesh out his character. Michael Scott’s temporary (or not-so-temporary) replacement is a genial dude named Deangelo Vickers who loves the American southwest, has to live with a debilitating peanut allergy (“It’s a part of me”), and proclaims that he’s “just as comfortable at a ball game as I am at the opera” — a declaration that provokes utter contempt in Dwight. He’s also kind of a fox … at least in the eyes of Kelly, who clearly has a thing for non-Michael men in positions of power (Charles Miner, anyone?). Watch the clips below, then tell us: How do you think Ferrell will fare on The Office?

READ FULL STORY

'Office' finale adds Ray Romano, James Spader

The Office is hiring more stars for its season finale: Ray Romano, James Spader and Catherine Tate will guest star as more potential replacements for the departing Michael Scott. They join the previously reported Ricky Gervais and Will Arnett in the May 19th hour-long episode. Of course, Gervais has said he’s not interested in playing the role again, Arnett was cast in an NBC comedy pilot, and Romano is on TNT’s Men of a Certain Age. Or, producers could just do a total fake out and cast somebody who isn’t even in the finale.

'Lost II?' 'Glee' crossover? 12 traffic-bait headlines we'd like to see

LOST-II-Lost-again

Been a bit slow lately aside from the Mad Men drama. So in honor of April Fools Day, below is our prayer to the TV gods: A dirty dozen of online traffic-boosting headlines we’d like to see:

Lost prequel announced: Peninsula-set reboot to explain everything

– NBC reveals shocking new The Office boss: Dave Chappelle!

– Fox: “We screwed up, let’s bring back Firefly

– The Glee and Grey’s Anatomy crossover wedding: Yes, it’s happening! READ FULL STORY

Could Will Ferrell join 'The Office' full time?

Could Will Ferrell go from NBC’s Office temp to full-time boss?

Yes, according to the man himself — though other sources strongly caution against such a blockbuster prospect. Ferrell was attending the Comedy Central’s Comedy Awards this weekend when he said he will continue on NBC’s top-rated comedy beyond his previously announced four-episode arc that airs starting next month.

“Yes, I’m taking over,” Ferrell told EW when asked abut a rumor that he’s going to be Steve Carell’s permanent and full-time replacement. READ FULL STORY

First look at Will Ferrell on 'The Office': What's with all the hugging?

Sometimes the TV gods can be cruel. After granting us an exceptional installment of The Office, they’re forcing us to wait three whole weeks before another new episode. There is, however, a silver lining here — Will Ferrell’s much-ballyhooed four-episode stint on the show begins on April 14, when The Office finally returns. NBC teased his arrival with a 16-second clip that aired at the end of last night’s episode, and though it doesn’t give us much to go on — Ferrell’s character asks Michael to hug him, Michael refuses, then reaches his arms around Ferrell’s back — it’s enough to spark speculation. What will Ferrell’s temporary Dunder Mifflin boss be like: a megalomaniac, á la Mugatu in Zoolander and Megamind Megamind? A sweetly deluded manchild, á la Anchorman‘s Ron Burgundy? A sad sack who could conceivably be a real person, á la Stranger Than Fiction‘s Harold Crick? Only time will tell — though we’re pretty psyched to find out. Check out the promo below, then let us know what you’re hoping to see from Ferrell’s visit to Scranton in the comments. READ FULL STORY

Rainn Wilson on Steve Carell's last day: 'There was a heaviness hanging over the proceedings'

Rainn Wilson would prefer to joke through the pain over Steve Carell leaving The Office. “The last scene when Dwight pulled back the shotgun, put it in Michael Scott’s mouth and pulled the trigger and his head blew apart, it was moving. There was not a dry eye in the house!” Wilson told EW during the premiere of Super in Hollywood Monday. “No, that’s a terrible thing to say. There is no shootout at Dunder Mifflin. Dwight does not kill Michael. That is not how we get rid of Steve.

“Actually, the last day of shooting with Steve was more intense than I anticipated it would be,” Wilson continued. “There actually wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was really sad. It was very difficult to make comedy when there was a heaviness hanging over the proceedings. It’s a great episode. Steve is magnificent in it. Maybe he’ll finally win that Emmy he has deserved for like seven years.”

For now, Wilson can’t say how Michael Scott’s departure will affect the other characters. “I don’t know what’s going to happen. We have Will Farrell for a little while and then we will have a few to shoot without a single A-list movie star. We’ve just got to see what happens,” Wilson said. ” Dwight is sad. He’s losing his best buddy and his office hero. Actually all the characters are sad to see him go as are the actors but everyone understands and we will do our best to fill the void.”

Carell’s last episode will air April 28 — three weeks before the NBC comedy’s hourlong season finale on May 19. Ferrell will guest star as Michael’s replacement for several episodes beginning in April. Carell—who has garnered five Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe trophy in the role—filmed his last scenes for the show on March 4.  – With reporting from Carrie Bell

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'The Office' scoop! Ricky Gervais, Will Arnett to guest star in season finale -- EXCLUSIVE

NBC and producers of The Office are pulling out all the stops for the finale of this pivotal seventh season, lining up several major guest stars for the final episode.

EW can exclusively reveal that Ricky Gervais and Will Arnett will appear in the finale.

What will they be doing? Can’t say. The episode is still being written. We can tell you the one-hour episode will air May 19, have Gervais appearing on the show for the second time, and has Arnett appearing for the first time. Also, that there will be other notable guest stars as well.  READ FULL STORY

'Parks and Recreation,' 'Community' and 'The Office' earn early pickups for fall

NBC reaffirmed its commitment to three of its critically beloved comedies today by announcing 2011-12 pickups for The Office, Parks and Recreation and Community.

“I am so pleased to renew these three outstanding comedies which are all at the top of their game creatively,” said Bob Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment Chairman, in a statement.  “Along with 30 Rock, they represent the best of what the NBC comedy brand stands for in terms of originality, wit, and sophistication. The Office continues to fire on all cylinders on the most competitive night of television, Parks and Recreation has come into its own this season as the rightful companion to The Office, and Community is one of the freshest comedies on any network and a solid foundation for Thursday night.”

NBC has yet to decide whether to renew Perfect Couples or Outsourced. It’s likely that call will be made at crunch time in early May, when the Peacock is preparing to announce its fall lineup to advertisers in New York.

The Office averages a 4.0 rating/10 share in adults 18-49 and 7.7 million viewers. Parks earns a 2.8/7 and 5.5 million viewers, while Community gets a 2.1/6 and 4.7 million.

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'The Office': Director Paul Feig on Steve Carell's 'very emotional' last episode

Steve Carell’s final bow on The Office won’t air until a little more than a month from now, but the episode’s director, Paul Feig, who just wrapped filming last week, is already warning that the audience should prepare for an emotionally-charged episode.

“We were exhausted by the end of that week. You thought you’d stop being sad or stop being emotional, but every scene was, ‘Oh, we just did the last conference room’ or ‘Oh, we just did the last talking head.’ So it was pretty wild,” he told EW at PaleyFest’s salute to Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared Saturday night.

Even the show’s veteran cast had trouble controlling themselves as they bid farewell to their fearless leader. “Everybody was kind of in a state of suspended animation. Everyone kinda knew and [was] pretending it wasn’t happening, but then we were rehearsing a scene with the accounting department, and all of a sudden Angela Kinsey just sort of burst into tears. She was like, ‘This is my last scene with you.’ And we all kind of immediately snapped out of it, pretended it didn’t happen, and we went back and started doing it,” he said. “But they had a great send off for him at the end. It was very emotional.”

The episode airs April 28.

'The Office' to bid farewell to Steve Carell on April 28

Get ready to fill your World’s Best Boss mug with tears on April 28, because that’s the date of Steve Carell’s last episode on The Office. Carell’s misfit manager Michael Scott is departing Dunder Mifflin three weeks before the NBC comedy’s hourlong season finale on May 19. Will Ferrell will guest star as Michael’s replacement for several episodes beginning in April. Carell—who has garnered five Emmy nominations and a Golden Globe trophy in the role—filmed his last scenes for the show on March 4.

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