'The Office' makes B.J. Novak a part-time employee

bj-novak-the-office-nbc.jpg "The Office" will free Ryan Howard to look for other jobs this season: B.J. Novak will no longer be a full-time member of the show's cast and backstage staff.

Novak is likely to make some on-screen appearances in the coming season, but TV Guide reports he's no longer part of the regular cast. Novak's contract, along with those of Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms and John Krasinski, expired at the end of last season, and while the other three signed new deals, Novak did not.

Novak was also an "Office" writer and producer, and he's done with those roles as well. He'll still be welcome in the writers room and could direct (he's helmed five episodes), but he would do so as a freelancer. He was an executive producer of fellow "Office" departee Mindy Kaling's FOX comedy pilot "The Mindy Project" but didn't join the show's staff when it was picked up.

"The Office" is still resetting itself as it enters the second season following Steve Carell's swan song. James Spader has also left the cast, while Catherine Tate is joining full-time. Original showrunner Greg Daniels is returning this season to take over for Paul Lieberstein (who also plays Toby). Lieberstein, meanwhile, is working with Rainn Wilson on a Dwight-focused spinoff.
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