‘The Office’: Why a Reboot Will Probably Never Happen

When Steve Carell hosted Saturday Night Live back in November, he had cast members from The Office that were sitting in the audience join him in his monologue. During the bit, they tried to persuade him to do a reboot of the NBC cult-favorite series, The Office.

When even Carell’s own wife and kids gave him the go-ahead, it seemed there was some sort of truth about a reboot occurring. However, Carell pulled the rug out at monologue’s end to prove it was a joke.

Are there still indications such a reboot will ever happen? You might make a Michael Scott reaction face as chances diminish.

Is there interest in a reboot of ‘The Office’?

The Office
‘The Office’ | Paul Drinkwater/NBCU Photo Bank

After The Office went off the air in May of 2013, there was always talk about some kind of reunion, if even it was just a movie. Things turned more serious about a year ago when recent successful TV reboots seemed to boost interest by NBC.

When most of the cast reunited for a party at producer Greg Daniels’ home, everyone began wondering if some kind of reboot was potentially in the works. Of course, with some of the main cast members not at the reunion, you had to realize other projects were intervening.

Not that anyone would have assumed every cast member would return for a new version. It’s a given they would have trouble landing people like John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling, and Ellie Kemper.

If there was ever any serious intention to reboot the series, many hoped maybe Carell would rejoin with a few of the regulars.

Why ‘The Office’ reboot won’t happen

It’s true a few recently rebooted sitcoms have worked out reasonably well. The best of these is arguably Will & Grace on NBC, and more arguably The Connors (formerly Roseanne). You also have some drama reboots doing well like the long-running Hawaii Five-O, recent MacGyver, plus Magnum P.I.

Murphy Brown on CBS was revived and had a creative first season, even if we don’t know yet if it’ll return. No doubt Carell has seen that dramas generally do better in reboot form than sitcoms. Only Will & Grace seemed to have enough creative power to work exactly as well as the original run.

As everyone cogitated about The Office rebooting, Carell signed a deal to do a new comedy on Netflix, plus a series for Apple TV+. Former is Space Force (billed as The Office in space), and latter is a comedy-drama about a morning cable news show with Jennifer Aniston.

With him doing these projects, you can forget about Carell coming back as Michael Scott anytime soon.

What will it take for a reboot of ‘The Office’?

Let’s consider one important thing: Time makes a big difference in how people perceive a sitcom or drama reboot. Will & Grace waited 11 years to do their revival, and it’s been 20 years with Murphy Brown.

The longer amount of time there is between an original sitcom and its reboot, the more the latter can stand on its own terms thanks to short memories from the public. Some reboots have jumped the gun and ultimately stumbled, like American Idol in the reality show category.

Wait another decade and see where stars like Carell and the others are. Usually, after a decade or more, big stars have a lot of other important creative work out of the way and sometimes find it worth the time to revisit shows from their pasts.

Then again, we have to look at logic on whether any of the characters would want to return to Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in their middle age unless forced to.