By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Jul 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM
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Steve Carell has been talking about it for a couple weeks, but NBC has finally made it official: Carell is beginning his last season as Michael Scott on "The Office."

The seventh season of the mockumentary set in the Scranton, Pa., office of a paper company is scheduled to premiere on Sept. 23 in the familiar 8 p.m. Thursday time slot.

The confirmation of Carell's impending departure came in an Associated Press interview with Angela Bromstad, NBC’s president of prime-time entertainment.

But that doesn't mean the show will go away. In fact, it's a great opportunity to retool an aging product. 

If you wait too long, such a move can flop -- as in the attempts to keep "Scrubs" going in its move from NBC to ABC.

But "The Office" still has some life in it, with a rich supporting cast of now-familiar faces. Most are too extreme to be promoted to a central role. Dwight Schrute is at his funniest in small doses. Characters like Creed and Meredith work best when we only catch glimpses of their lives.

My guess is that producers will go outside for a new boss. And in September 2011, when a Carell-less "The Office" debuts, there's a good chance that the boss won't even be the comedic center of the show.

In fact, it could be a very different show altogether. That could be a very good thing. When it debuted in March 2005, it was a direct copy of the British original.

It soon evolved into a uniquely American workplace comedy. There could be one more evolutionary stage left in "The Office."

From the other "Office" manager: The man behind the original British show "The Office," Ricky Gervais, an executive producer of the NBC show, had earlier blogged his support of Carell's decision to leave:

"He should move on, continue to do great work and buy a new house every time The Office is repeated somewhere. (That's what I do. Maybe I'll buy one next door to him one day. That'll f---ing teach him.)"

On the air:  KIAH-TV, the Chicago Tribune-owned CW network station in Houston, is experimenting with anchor-free newscasts. It sounds more like a way to save money than actually build an audience.

  • Mississippi Public Broadcasting is looking at bringing the "Fresh Air" radio show at 9 p.m., and with an "adult content" label after dropping the show over an interview with comedian Louis C.K.
  • Nigel Lythgoe may be returning to Fox's "American Idol" as the number one show tries to deal with declining numbers. He was an executive producer until 2008.
  • July cable news numbers are out and Fox News Channel beat CNN, MSNBC and HLN (the former Headline News) combined in viewers 2 and older, according to Nielsen Media Research numbers. It beat CNN and MSNBC combined in the key 25-to-54 demographic.
  • Former Channel 6 anchor Dawn Hasbrouck is moving to 5 to 7 a.m. anchor shift of Chicago's WFLD-TV. She had been on the Fox station's noon newscast.

  A bit of roast Hoff: Comedy Central is distributing bits and pieces of promotional material for the upcoming roast of David Hasselhoff, who is sadly absent from network TV this summer (Howie Mandel displaced him on NBC's "America's Got Talent.")

Anywhere, here's a silly little music video featuring the Hoff: 

The Roast of David Hasselhoff Sunday, August 15
Tease - Do You Really Want to Hurt Hoff?

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.