Dunder Mifflin may have another job opening come next year, as NBC is currently working on a spin-off of The Office centered around everyone’s favorite assistant regional manager, Dwight K Schrute III (Rainn Wilson), for a potential midseason replacement in 2013.
The spin-off series, which has yet to officially be announced by NBC, is described as a family comedy and will focus on the Schrute family beet farm and bed & breakfast that has been hilariously featured several times over the course of the series. Spearheaded by Wilson and The Office executive producer (and Toby) Paul Lieberstein, the proverbial seeds for Dwight’s upcoming spin-off series will be planted in an upcoming episode of The Office.
Speaking to Deadline, a source close to The Office reveals how the spin-off idea came about, as well as how they’re going to flesh out the idea to be able to carry a series on its own:
Paul and Rainn have been joking for years about Dwight’s life on the farm, his family and how ill-suited he is to run a B&B.
A while ago, it started to feel like a show to them. NBC agreed. It’s been further developed to include multiple generations, many cousins and neighbors. At its base it will be about a family farm struggling to survive and a family trying to stay together.
Before fans of The Office begin jumping up and down at the mention of “cousins,” it is not yet known whether or not the loveably awkward Mose, who is played by Parks & Recreation co-creator Mike Schur, will be a part of the series. If anything, the character of Mose could be transitioned into something of a reoccurring character, such as Rafi (Jason Mantzoukas) in FX’s The League, who was originally going to be one the main characters on the series.
Of course, in order for Dwight to take on the responsibility that comes from running a beet farm/bed and breakfast, he’s going to have to leave the world of Dunder Mifflin behind him. If everything goes as planned (which is likely), Wilson will return for half of The Office season 9, before heading off to his own series.
While NBC has yet to officially renew The Office for season 9, all signs point to the series receiving another season order from the network; though, who all will be returning is still up for question. Without having an official pick-up from NBC, negotiations with the core cast members - who are without a contract for season - are unable to occur.
But the real question is: Can The Office survive without Dwight? Sure, the loss of Steve Carell was great, but what allowed the series to continue was that the rest of the cast collectively made up a stronger comedic force than Carell on his own.
Without Dwight, that collective begins to break down, as the lack of certain personalities become more and more obvious to the viewer. And while the position of Carell was filled by Ed Helm’s Andy Bernard, their personalities were similar enough to make up for the core dynamic that Carell brought to the series.
Unfortunately, when it comes to Dwight, a wonderfully unique and crazed character, there really isn’t any equal - which, perhaps, is NBC’s ultimate intention.
With NBC ordering 8 new comedy pilots, the network appears to want to lock down a more secure comedy block. While it’s true that The Office is still successful in its timeslot, the age of the series means that it won’t be around much longer.
So if the network renews The Office for one final year, which will certainly see the return of many memorable faces from the past (we already know that Carell is willing to come back), not only will they be able to use the “buzz” that comes with a final season to launch their new comedies, but they’ll also be able to leverage the highly-anticipated return of many past characters to fill the void that Wilson will have left by going to his own series.
Of course, the real question is… Would anyone be interested in seeing a Dwight spin-off series?
The Office airs Thursdays @9pm on NBC. Expect to hear more about the potential Dwight spin-off series in the coming months.
Follow Anthony on Twitter @anthonyocasio