Who Should Replace Steve Carell on The Office?

The red carpet premiere of Despicable Me was probably not where NBC wanted Steve Carell to confirm that he was leaving The Office following this season—but alas, such is life for the perpetually lagging behind network. Still, even without the “face of the franchise,” NBC is planning on continuing ahead with The Office to infinity and beyond. But who should replace Carell’s infamous lead character Michael Scott? Here are some suggestions—and for NBC, they’re free of charge!

Ricky Gervais

While some people might assume that replacing Carell with Gervais would be like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic because of how similar their Office characters are, consider: Not only would the return of Gervais’ David Brent allow for even more closure of his character, it would create a maelstrom of culture shock. Plus Gervais is inherently “meaner” as a comic actor than Carell, something the staid Office could use to create a major jolt. Also: Gervais is hilarious.

Zach Woods/Ed Helms

Brought on last season as a liaison for Dunder-Mifflin’s parent company, Sabre, Zach Woods’ persnickety Gabe is—at the very least—organizationally inline for Michael’s job. But there is no way NBC and The Office will leave the reigns to a very funny bit player who is most famous for the criminally underseen In the Loop. So, workaround! Make Gabe the boss and then shift the focus of the series onto Ed Helms’ Andy Bernard. The Hangover made Helms a big star, and it’s about time The Office cashed in on that completely.

Maya Rudolph

30 Rock has Tina Fey. Parks and Recreation has Amy Poehler. So why shouldn’t The Office have Maya Rudolph? Putting aside Grown Ups for a second, she’s shown herself to have not only impeccably wacky comedy chops (Saturday Night Live), but also the capacity for dramatic pathos as well (Away We Go). And as any fan of The Office knows, both are necessary in bushels to make the series work. Who Should Replace Steve Carell on The Office?