Why Steve Carell Left 'The Office'

Arguably, Steve Carell was one of the main factors in the success of The Office, up until his exit in the show's seventh season. Now, we have a little more backstory on just why the A-list actor decided to leave the show. In a new book titled The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Rolling Stone journalist Andy Greene shares conversations and insider details about the beloved series, as told by the cast and crew.

In one section of the book, Brian Wittle — a boom operator and sound designer for The Office — recalled a story wherein Carell essentially revealed that he left because he got the impression that the show's creative and executive forces didn't care whether he stayed or not. "I sat with him one time and he told me the story. He was doing a radio interview and he haphazardly mentioned, almost unconsciously, that it might be his last season," Wittle shared, per /Film. "He didn't plan on saying it out loud and he hadn't decided anything. He was kind of thinking out loud, but he did it in an interview in public and it created news."

Wittle continued, "Then what he said was the people connected to the show had no reaction to it. They didn't call and say, 'What? You wanna leave?' He said he didn't get any kind of response from them. When he realized he didn't get any kind of response from them, he thought, 'Oh, maybe they don't really care if I leave. Maybe I should go do other things.' So I think that made it easier because when the news broke that he was considering it, the people that are in charge of keeping him there didn't make a big effort to do so until afterward."

Notably, Kim Ferry — the hairstylist on The Office — corroborated Wittle's story, saying that Carell actually "didn't want to leave" the series. "He had told the network that he was going to sign for another couple of years. He was willing to and his agent was willing to. But for some reason, they didn't contact him. I don't know if it was a game of chicken or what."


Ferry went on to say, "He planned on staying on the show. He told his manager and his manager contacted them and said he's willing to sign another contract for a couple years. So all of that was willing and ready and, on their side, honest. And the deadline came for when they were supposed to give him an offer and it passed and they didn't make him an offer. So his agent was like, 'Well, I guess they don't want to renew you for some reason.' Which was insane to me. And to him, I think." The entire series of The Office and extended episodes and behind-the-scenes featurettes are currently streaming on Peacock.