"The Office" will be ending after this season. The NBC comedy's executive producer and showrunner Greg Daniels made the announcement on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In an interview with EW, Daniels explained why the decision was made.
“This year feels like the last chance to … make an artistic ending for the show. This will be the last season of 'The Office,' and we’re planning a big exciting last season," Daniels told EW. "All questions will be answered this year. We’re going to see who’s behind the documentary.”
Robert Greenblatt, the Chairman of NBC Entertainment, reflected on the series' end in a statement:
"'The Office' is a classic, award-winning television comedy and all of us at NBC couldn’t be prouder to have produced and telecast the series as it heads into its ninth season. Greg Daniels, the cast, and crew have some terrific storylines planned for the final season. Fans are in for a treat. It’s always difficult to see these kinds of shows come to an end, but we are honoring the cast’s and producers’ desire to make this the final season."
Speculation has run rampant for several seasons that "The Office" was nearing its swan song. The show tried to re-invent itself in the wake of Steve Carell's departure after Season 7, as Dunder Mifflin Scranton handed its managerial reigns to Ed Helms, and a new corporate boss -- James Spader's Robert California -- joined the cast.
"The Office" has lost a considerable amount of its writing talent recently. Executive producer Paul Lieberstein, who plays Toby on the show, left his writing role on the show to work on NBC's planned "Office" spinoff "The Farm" starring Rainn Wilson's Dwight Schrute character. Actress and co-producer Mindy Kaling also left the show to focus on her Fox comedy "The Mindy Project."
Still, the network had previously insisted "The Office" could air side by side with "The Farm."
"We couldn't box ourselves in in that way [of saying 'The Office' definitely ends when the spinoff starts]," Salke said. "But I think the series and the spinoff could co-exist," NBC President Jennifer Salke said at the Television Critics Association Summer 2012 Press Tour.
The ninth and final season of "The Office" premieres on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.