emmys 2012

Showrunner Survey: The Office’s Paul Lieberstein on His Love of M*A*S*H and Larry Sanders

Photo: NBC

Paul Lieberstein announced a few weeks ago that he won’t be returning as showrunner on The Office (though we’re hoping he’ll still pop up as Toby). Before Lieberstein moves on to a possible spinoff of NBC’s long-running hit, he took time to fill out the Vulture Showrunner Survey, where he expressed his desire to arrange a meeting between Michael Scott and a fictional late-night legend, and gave a decidedly downbeat answer to our question about reviving dearly departed TV characters.

What’s the first TV show you remember being obsessed with?
M*A*S*H.  I was only allowed a half-hour of TV a week, but I found an old set in the basement and watched four episodes a day.

True or false: When I was growing up, the day the TV Guide “Fall Preview” issue came out was almost as good as the last day of school.  
False. Sorry, but I didn’t ever want to read about the shows I liked — or ever hear an actor on a talk show. I wanted the show to exist only in its own reality.
Which show would you like to do a crossover event with and why?
The Larry Sanders Show. The show was brilliant, and I would like to see Michael Scott meet Larry and Hank.
If you could bring back any killed-off TV character for just one more episode, who would it be?
Hmmm … let them stay dead.
Do time slots still matter? Explain.   
Yes, since advertising is still geared toward the live viewer. But it’s fading as technology changes. Soon, the viewer won’t even know if he’s watching on broadcast or the Internet. He’ll just be eating his cereal and see an image on the spoon. That’s how we’ll be watching soon, on spoons. The commercials will be on the knives.
Which writers’ room in all of TV history would you most like to have gotten to sit in on?
Easy: Your Show of Shows. The show itself wasn’t even very good, but man, what a staff.
Finish this sentence: The hardest thing to pull off on a TV show is …
Location, location, location.

Showrunner Survey: The Office’s Paul Lieberstein