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Michael Scott is leaving the building after one more season in “The Office.”

NBC has made official what many had long expected: Steve Carell and his breakout character will leave “The Office” after his contract expires next year.

Carell had first hinted at his departure from the popular sitcom in a radio interview earlier this year, and NBC primetime entertainment president Angela Bromstad now told the Associated Press that he will indeed quit the show after his contract ends in 2011. An NBC spokesman confirmed the plans.

Bromstad pointed out that Carell has become a “major movie star” and it is not unusual for such stars to leave a TV role. She added that “The Office” is strong enough to go without Carell. Still, NBC left the chance of an occasional guest visit open.

The creative team behind the show will ponder options, such as replacing the Scott character with a new character.

Paul Lieberstein, an executive producer who also plays HR representative Toby on “The Office,” told the AP: “Right now, we’re still talking about a lot of scenarios.”


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