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Is David Brent about to run the US Office?

Is David Brent about to run the US Office?
Is David Brent about to run the US Office? (Image credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima)

Producers of the US version of The Office are interested in the original UK star of The Office, Ricky Gervais, replacing Steve Carrell in their series. An executive producer of the US show, Paul Lieberstein, told New York magazine (opens in new tab): "We talked about it today for a while. It's not the leading idea... [but] it's not a dead idea." Carrell's character Michael Scott is based on Gervais's iconic mid-management loser David Brent. But Carrell is departing at the end of the current series. Lieberstein continued: "I don't know how David Brent could take Michael Scott's place because it would be a little bit too much of a coincidence that a documentary crew was also following him... He was also fired for incompetence [in the UK Office], so we'd have to create some back story for what happened. There would be some things to deal with. "On the flip side, you have someone who's incredibly talented and who has played with a level of realism that's the same as our show." Gervais poured cold water on the like-for-like replacement, however. He said: "As David Brent would say, 'Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt... ' "As I would say, 'Why would I get up at 6 am five days a week for seven years when I can hire someone else to do that and still get my syndication money?'" Gervais receives a substantial fee for the US version as creator of the original Office.

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 


An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.