Belfast Telegraph

Gervais plays down US Office claims

Ricky Gervais has thrown cold water over rumours that he is in talks to replace Steve Carell in the US version of The Office.

The British funnyman, who played the lead role and created the original series, was reportedly in the running to step into Steve's shoes as hapless manager Michael Scott when he leaves at the end of the seventh season.

But Ricky, who is already executive producer on the American show, told New York Magazine: "As David Brent would say, been there, done that, bought the T-shirt - as I would say, 'Why would I get up at 6am five days a week for seven years, when I can hire someone else to do that and still get my syndication money?'"

Paul Lieberstein, another executive producer of The Office, confirmed that Ricky's involvement had been discussed.

"We talked about it today for a while. It's not the leading idea... [but] it's not a dead idea," he said.

But he added: "I don't know how David Brent could take Michael Scott's place because it would be a little bit too much of a coincidence that a documentary crew was also following him. He was also fired for incompetence [in the UK Office], so we'd have to create some back story for what happened. There would be some things to deal with."

Paul still hopes Steve will change his mind about leaving.

"I don't want Steve to go, and if he decides he wants to stay, I will be very happy with that," he said.

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