LOS ANGELES Award-winning comedy "The Office" is hoping to get an extra-long episode for the series finale later this month, but Steve Carell's bumbling office manager Michael Scott won't be joining the farewell party, the producer of the TV comedy said on Wednesday.
Greg Daniels, executive producer of the U.S. mockumentary workplace comedy, said the May 16 finale will be patterned after the original British version, in which the characters reunited after becoming famous as reality TV stars.
"After attempting to beat that (British) ending in a number of different ways, we ended up doing something very similar," Daniels told reporters on a conference call, adding that he was hoping to stretch out the finale beyond its scheduled one-hour running time.
"We are trying to get more time and the network (NBC) is being very creative about scraping some more time without us having to start the finale at a weird time that will cause half the audience to miss the first 10 minutes.
"We are still hopeful of getting slightly more than one hour," he said.
The U.S. version of "The Office," which was originated by British comedian Ricky Gervais, is coming to an end after eight years. Since the departure of Carell in 2011, audiences have fallen from around 8 million at the show's height in 2007-8 to about 5 million this year.
"I think Steve felt, and I agree, that the 'Goodbye, Michael' episode was his goodbye and he didn't want to overshadow the ending that all the other characters deserved," said Daniel.
Recent episodes of the four-time Emmy Award winning comedy have seen friction in the rosy relationship of popular married couple Jim and Pam Halpert, played by John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer.
Daniels declined to give any spoilers but said suggested their future would be largely resolved before the finale.
"My hope is that people will treat the last several episodes as the finale and not force us to do everything in the last episode.
"We didn't want there to be such anxiety over Jim and Pam that you could think of nothing else in the last episode," he said.
NBC is a unit of Comcast Corp
(Reporting By Jill Serjeant; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)