CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- After this coming season, NBC is going to have some serious real estate open in its Thursday comedy block. Joining the previously announced "30 Rock," "The Office" will end after this season as well.
The show's creator, Greg Daniels, made the announcement Tuesday. I don't watch "The Office," but the news is hardly surprising.
The show already took a hit last season -- both in the ratings and fan opinion -- after Steve Carell's Michael Scott departed. Then at the end of it, Mindy Kaling, who played Kelly Kapoor and was one of the show's writers, left for her own sitcom (this fall's "The Mindy Project" on Fox). And even before Tuesday's announcement, there was a spin-off in the works for Dwight, so Rainn Wilson likely would have been leaving after this year.
Daniels said that his main focus for the year is to give longtime fans satisfying wrap-ups to the stories of the show's main characters. The decision to end came from him and his staff, not from the suits at NBC, so presumably they have ideas mapped out on where to take beloved characters like Jim and Pam as well as the rest of the gang.
He has said old characters will return, though it's not yet determined if Michael Scott is one of them. (Daniels hopes he will be.) Viewers will also finally learn about the documentary crew that has been filming the Dunder Mifflin folks for so many years.
The good news for fans is that unlike "30 Rock," which is only returning for 13 episodes, the ninth and final season of "The Office" will be a full one, ending sometime in May.
Series premiere: "America's Next Top Model: College Edition," 8 p.m. Friday, CW; "Bering Sea Gold: Under the Ice," (coldwater deep-sea diving), 9 p.m., and "Yukon Men," (facing a brutal Alaskan winter) 10 p.m. Friday, Discovery; "I Found the Gown," 10 p.m. Friday, TLC (designer bridal outlet); "The Dead Files Revisited," 10 p.m. Friday, Travel (paranormal investigations); "Abby & Brittany," 10 p.m. Tuesday, TLC (conjoined twins).
Season premieres: "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta," 9 p.m. Friday, TLC; "19 Kids and Counting," 9 p.m. Tuesday, TLC.