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'The Office' may be ending

Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute in "The Office"

Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute in "The Office" "PDA" Episode 717. Credit: NBC

Could the end be near for "The Office?" Showrunner Paul Lieberstein has confirmed to the trades that he's off the show next season, if there is a next season, to work on the Dwight Shrute/Rainn Wilson spinoff. Mindy Kaling already has a development deal with Fox, which means she's history, too, as is Daniel Chun, head writer. Plus, key "Office"-ers, including John Krasinski, have yet to sign new deals. Lieberstein --- Toby, of course ---- is one of the behind-the-scenes geniuses of this classic; he took over when Greg Daniels and  Mike Schur took off to launch "Parks & Rec," and kept the show at or near the quality of the Daniels' era. He's certainly had tremendous help,  including people like Kaling and B.J. Novak. But without Lieberstein (who like Daniels will remain in an "advisory" role should a ninth season happen) the show's future remains clouded. His sensibility is baked into this, and it would be hard --- maybe not impossible, but hard --- to find a Lieberstein clone.

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