Ricky Gervais, Red Herrings and 2 Other Ways The Office Plans on Dealing With Steve Carell's Exit

MichaelScott225.jpgEveryone and their mother has offered up their opinion on who should inherit the Dunder Mifflin throne once Steve Carell's lovable Michael Scott retires, but now, THR has finally learned how NBC plans on moving forward with The Office -- and "the plan" is a lot more complicated and uncertain than anyone ever imagined.

· Red Herrings

Throughout the next season, producers will carefully shift the focus of each episode onto different characters who could potentially take over Michael Scott's "World's Best Boss" mug. The Hollywood Reporter says that one episode next season will follow Andy (Ed Helms) as he stars in a small Scranton production of "Sweeney Todd," while another episode features the baptism of Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam's (Jenna Fischer) baby (snooze!). Other episodes featuring Darryl (Craig Robinson) and Toby (Paul Lieberstein) are also in the works.

· Distracting Guest Stars

While the future of the company hangs in the balance, producers are wrangling special guest stars to divert attention from the question at hand including Timothy Olyphant, Kathy Bates, Amy Ryan and Melora Hardin. Harvey Keitel, who was previously rumored as a possible replacement for Carell, may stop by for one episode but nothing more. Producers also hope that in spite of his protests, Ricky Gervais will agree to make a guest appearance.

· A Series-Wide Restructuring

By the end of the next season, viewers will know who is replacing Michael Scott at Dunder Mifflin but that person will not necessarily be the new Office lead. Says THR, "One radical notion being explored is the possibility of subtly shifting the show's point of view so that a current character is the star instead of the boss." Could that mean that Creed finally gets the screen time he deserves?

· A Possibly Annoying Cliffhanger

Producers are floating the idea of having Michael Scott's replacement "fail in some spectacular manner" at the end of the season, leaving audiences to question whether a more fitting successor will be chosen during the following season.

So basically, after waiting out the entire season, countless "Who Will Succeed Michael Scott" NBC promotions, and dozens of vague interviews on subject, viewers still might not know who will become the star of The Office. But hey, at least you can rest easy knowing that Jim and Pam's spawn knocked out its first sacrament.

· Office plan: How NBC will tackle replacing Carell [THR]