‘The Office’: Brian Baumgartner and Angela Kinsey Felt Like They Were Going to Lose Their Jobs Until This Happened
The Office is one of the most popular comedy series ever. But before the show became a smashing success, showrunners and the actors had to fight tooth and nail. For the actors who didn’t have permanent roles on The Office like Brian Baumgartner and Angela Kinsey, there was an immense amount of pressure because showrunners could write their parts out of the series at any time. It wasn’t until this pivotal moment that both actors felt some semblance of job security on The Office.
NBC almost canceled ‘The Office’ after season 1
Despite how popular The Office is today, there was a time when the show’s cast had to fear for their jobs. As Baumgartner discussed in An Oral History of The Office, NBC didn’t want to commit to more than one season when The Office first came to America. After season 1, ratings were not where NBC wanted them to be. But Kevin Reilly, the president of NBC Entertainment at the time, and executive producer Ben Silverman vouched for the series. As Baumgartner explained, the network ordered another season of the series, but cut the budget in half. Throughout seasons 1 and 2, there was a lot of pressure on actors who played secondary characters in the show, including those in the accountant’s corner. Still, Kinsey and Baumgartner experienced moments of hope.
The ‘Diversity Day’ episode of ‘The Office’ gave Angela Kinsey confidence in the show
Kinsey spoke with Baumgartner on his latest podcast endeavor, The Office Deep Dive. “When I really thought ‘We’ve got something’ was ‘Diversity Day,'” Kinsey explained, adding how no other show was making jokes like the ones presented in that episode. “I remember thinking we’ve got something really special,” she said. Kinsey always took pride in the part she played on the show, despite being a background character. Eventually, she would come to play one of the leading roles on The Office. But before that could happen, the show had a lot to prove to the network and the world.
iTunes gave Angela Kinsey and Brian Baumgartner job security working on ‘The Office’
It wasn’t until the Christmas of 2005 that Kinsey and Baumgartner felt like they could rest easy. Because of the pressure from the network to do well and very few people tuning in to the show, most of the cast constantly felt weary of losing their jobs. But when Apple uploaded the Christmas episode from season 1 to video iPods, things began to change.
“I remember getting an email that our first Christmas episode had become the number one download on iTunes,” Kinsey said. During her conversation with Baumgartner, Kinsey laughed about what she did after finding out the good news. “I got rid of my Chevy Blazer and upgraded to a Honda,” she said.
Baumgartner agreed that moment was huge for the show. But he didn’t feel secure in his role on The Office until the accountants became series regulars. Up until “Booze Cruise,” Baumgartner and Kinsey were always unsure how many episodes showrunners would keep them around for. Thanks to the Christmas episode’s success and eventually becoming series regulars, Kinsey and Baumgartner were able to go to work confidently from then on.