'Office' Hours Coming Early
NBC frontloads longer episodes at start of season
The network announced Monday that the comedy's season premiere on Thursday, Sept. 27 would be an hour long. Later in the day, though, executive producer Greg Daniels noted that the show would run long for its first four weeks, eating up four of the five extra half-hours NBC trumpeted as a rerun-busting strategy at May's upfronts.
"It was their request," Daniels says of the scheduling, which will pit "The Office" against the likes of "Grey's Anatomy" and "CSI" for a full hour at 9 p.m. ET. The longer episodes at the start of the season will also fill a hole in the schedule, as NBC won't premiere "The Office's" lead-out, "Scrubs," until Oct. 25.
At May's upfronts, NBC touted the extended order for "The Office" as part of a strategy to cut down on the number of repeats throughout the season. As things stand, though, the show will be in original episodes for 25 weeks of the season -- the same as last year.
The beginning of the season, Daniels says, will sort out the events that occurred in last May's final episodes, including the firing of Jan (Melora Hardin) and Ryan (BJ Novak) taking over her old job.
"We're dealing with Ryan being the boss and trying to shake things up and bringing the company more into the Internet age," Daniels says. "That's the main thing at the beginning. And also Jan living with Michael -- she's moved in."
Daniels also says Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam, is recovering from multiple fractures in her back -- which she suffered after falling at NBC's post-upfront party -- and should be able to work when "The Office" begins filming next month.
"I spoke to her this morning," he says. "She's getting better, walking around, exercising. ... We'll proabably take it a little easy on her in the beginning."