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Steve Carell believed The Office would be cancelled after the filming of season one

Steve Carell believed The Office would be cancelled after the filming of season one

The US version of the Ricky Gervais sitcom went on to become a huge hit

When they decided to make a US version of The Office, there was no guarantee it would be a success.

The Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant original - which was broadcast on the BBC from 2001 to 2003 - set an extremely high bar, and many popular shows have failed to land across 'The Pond'.

Indeed, the signs weren't great for the remake following its first six episode series, which was released in 2005.

The show went on to become a huge hit.
PictureLux / The Hollywood Archive / Alamy Stock Photo

"We made six episodes that first season, and no one liked it," writer and producer Michael Schur told Vox in 2018.

"Ordinarily, 99 times out of 100, or maybe even 999 times out of 1,000, that show is cancelled.

"It's a six-episode experiment, and this is back, by the way, when sitcoms — when anything — could get big ratings on network TV. So that show is gonna get cancelled. We all knew it was going to get cancelled."

In fact, the cast had a feeling the sitcom would be discontinued before they'd even wrapped filming, and Schur said Carell was just grateful they'd been able to make six episodes of the show.

He recalled: "There was a moment when we were shooting the last episode, where the cast was sort of huddled outside, and everyone was a little bit glum because it was our last week of shooting, and even though the show wouldn't air for months, everyone kind of felt like, there's no way this ever works.

"I remember Steve [Carell] looking around at the cast and saying, 'Hey, we got to make six.' Like, 'We got six of these things. That's amazing. What a dream to make six episodes of this thing that's so weird and pure.'"

The cast thought it wouldn't make it past season one.
REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

The show would have been doomed if it weren't for the intervention of Kevin Reilly at NBC, who was able to convince execs at the network to give it a second chance.

Schur recalled: "So, definitely going to get cancelled — except that Kevin Reilly kind of staked his reputation as an executive [on it] and says to his bosses at NBC, 'I believe in this show. I think it can work. Please, please, please give me another chance. Give us another season.'"

Luckily, they gave him the shot he pleaded for, and the rest - as they say - is history.

The show ran for nine seasons and is one of the most popular sitcoms ever.

So thank you, Kevin Reilly.

Featured Image Credit: NBC

Topics: Film and TV, The Office, Ricky Gervais, Celebrity