LOS ANGELES Actor Steve Carell is resigning his job at "The Office," but that won't mean the end of the Emmy-award winning TV comedy show, NBC said on Friday.
NBC entertainment programing chief Angela Bromstad told TV reporters that Carell's decision to quit as the egotistical boss Michael Scott in May 2011 had been known for some time to the network and the show's writers.
"The writers have a plan in terms of who is going to replace Michael. There will be a lot of storylines (on the show) leading up to that," Bromstad said.
Bromstad noted that NBC's long-running medical drama "ER" had continued for years after the departure in 1999 of actor George Clooney.
"This is a tremendous ensemble cast," she said of "The Office".
"We have known about (Carell's departure) for some time and planned for it. I would be very sad to be ending the show, and I couldn't go home and face my 14 year-old son if 'The Office' was off the air."
Carell, 47, began playing Michael Scott in 2005 when the U.S. version of the hit British mockumentary created by Ricky Gervais was launched on NBC. It has become one of NBC's biggest critical hits and is seen in syndication around the world.
Carell, who has gone on to a prolific movie career with films like "Despicable Me" and "Little Miss Sunshine", has said he wants to spend more time with his wife and young children.
(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)