Once you’ve wiped the fury spittle from your television after watching the New England Patriots win another Super Bowl next February, you’ll be treated to NBC’s spin-off of The Office called … well, they don’t know what it’s called yet. They also don’t know who will be in it, where it will take place, who will write it, or whether or not it will feature any current cast members. All we do know is that it will take place in an office, and that it will air after the Super Bowl. That might seem like quite the risk for NBC, offering up its primo time slot — it paid $600 million for its NFL rights, the centerpiece of which is the Super Bowl — to a show that so far isn’t even a twinkle in Greg Daniels’ eye. If it’s going to be an actual spin-off, though, it’s going to have to feature a current cast member or two. But which one? After some thought, we're eliminating hangdog HR rep Toby, who (spoiler!) is being replaced in the season finale by The Wire's Amy Ryan. (We wouldn't put it past the producers, though, to reinstate Toby by finale's end and leave Ryan as the centerpiece of the spin-off.) Toby aside, we're setting some odds, after the jump.
Michael Scott: 8,000 to 1. Carell’s obviously the flagship — at least until “Get Smart” is a hit (ha!) and he becomes too pricey — and it’s difficult to see the point in gutting the first franchise to set up another.
Dwight Schrute: 7,500 to 1. It’s difficult to imagine Dwight without Michael, and one suspects Dwight’s shtick as the lead would suffer without someone to bounce off. (However, we support Mose Schrute to get his own show, set among the high-stakes world of professional table tennis.) Plus, NBC has already taken Schrute off the table.
Jim Halpert and Pam Beasley. 35 to 1. In theory, this works; Jim and Pam’s story arc is just about complete — though spoilers are swirling that the relationship is taking a turn in this week’s episode — and transferring their happy couple to a new environment might invigorate the old show while bringing familiar faces to the new version. But it’s difficult to imagine much dramatic tension between two leads making googly eyes at each other. Find a way to split them up, though, with one bolting and one staying, then you might have something. Let’s put those at Jim: 8 to 1 and Pam 13:1.
Creed Bratton: 31 to 1. Only if producers package special promotional psilocybin in GE Healthcare Clinical Systems products. Which is always possible
Darryl Philbin: 17 to 1. One of the show’s underutilized resources, Darryl could conceivably anchor an entire show about the warehouse. And hey, NBC.com could have a nifty “It Has Been THIS Many Days Since An Accident” widget.
Andy Bernard: 2 to 1. Here’s our bet. Ed Helms has been stealing every scene he’s been in since joining the show a year ago, and he’s similar enough to Michael to anchor a show while different enough not to become redundant. “I forgot to tell you the plan for this Saturday. You, me, bar, beers, buzzed. Wings, shots, drunk! Waitresses — hot! Football, Cornell-Hofstra, slaughter! Then quick nap at my place, then we hit the tizzown.” We’d watch that show.
Oh, and we don’t think it’s even remotely possible, but our pick would be Kelly Kapur. We bet she could get Britney to do a cameo. –Will Leitch