‘The Office’ Would Have Been Cancelled After Season 1 If It Weren’t For Apple

There are a few television shows that have truly achieved timeless status in the eyes of both critics and fans. The Office is one such show, a cult-classic that was based on a British standard. The show went on to launch the careers of stars like Steve Carell and John Krasinski, and even today, The Office remains incredibly popular in reruns. Still, there was a time when the show’s future wasn’t so certain, and it seemed as though it would get canceled for sure — when an unlikely technology ended up saving the cult comedy. 

When did ‘The Office’ premiere on television?

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The British version of The Office first aired in Britain in 2001. Produced and written by Ricky Gervais, the BBC comedy was acerbic, clever, and full of hilarious workplace situations.

It was only a matter of time before America launched its own version of the groundbreaking show. In 2005, The Office aired on NBC. The show was filmed and presented in a unique “mockumentary” style, featuring the show’s characters talking directly to the camera.

With stars like Carell, Jenna Fischer, Rainn Wilson, and Krasinski at the helm, The Office was unlike anything else on television, and viewers quickly took notice. The show was also noteworthy for the absence of a laugh track or studio audience, both staples in many television comedies.

It didn’t take long before The Office started getting critical recognition. Over the years, the show took home many awards for writing, acting, and overall series structure. 

How long did ‘The Office’ stay on TV?

John Krasinski as Jim Halpert and Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly on The Office
‘The Office’ John Krasinski as Jim Halpert and Jenna Fischer as Pam Beesly | Chris Haston/NBCU Photo Bank

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It is hard to pinpoint what exactly made The Office so popular with fans. Certainly, many of the situations featured on the show were recognizable to anyone who had worked in an office environment. The comedy was all over the board, from subtle to over-the-top.

However, possibly the element that most contributed to the success of The Office was the veritable goldmine of talent that was harnessed by the showrunners. In addition to the main cast, supporting actors on the show included Ed Helms, Kate Flannery, Mindy Kaling, and Ellie Kemper. The Office is also noteworthy for launching many of the series regulars to Hollywood fame. 

For eight years, fans kept up with the antics of the Dunder-Mifflin team. However, in early 2013, The Office went off the air.

Although there have been many rumors over the years about a possible reunion, nothing concrete has ever been announced. Fans can still get their fix by watching reruns of the iconic show, and even today, it remains one of the biggest TV shows of all time. 

Did iTunes inadvertently save ‘The Office’?

It seems hard to believe now, but there was a time when it looked like The Office wouldn’t last longer than a few seasons. In fact, the show experienced poor ratings during the first several seasons, leading NBC to consider axing the show.

According to Engadget, it wasn’t until the show became available on iTunes that the ratings really started to improve. An NBC showrunner revealed: “I’m not sure that we’d still have the show on the air. The network had only ordered so many episodes, but when it went on iTunes and really started taking off, that gave us another way to see the true potential other than just Nielsen. It just kind of happened at a great time.”

Not only did iTunes change the game when it came to the viewing numbers for The Office, but it also ensured that the show would be around for many years to come.