While we’re still processing the notion that J. Lo and Steven Tyler might actually end replacing Ellen DeGeneres and Simon Cowell on American Idol, there’s another pending primetime switcheroo still unresolved: Who’s going to replace Steve Carell on The Office? Well, Vulture has learned that NBC and the show’s producers are giving serious thought to a potentially mind-blowing candidate: Ricky Gervais. The question now: Is Gervais ready to do any mind-blowing?
Gervais himself is throwing cold water on the notion. “As David Brent would say, ‘Been there, done that, bought the T-shirt … ‘” he told us via e-mail. “As I would say, ‘Why would I get up at 6 a.m. five days a week for seven years when I can hire someone else to do that and still get my syndication money?'”
Still, NBC loves the idea of Gervais on The Office, and the showrunners are open to it. Here’s how things would go, should they come together: Gervais would revive David Brent, the character from the original U.K. edition of The Office — the one on which Carell’s Michael Scott is based. Senior NBC execs endorse the idea because Gervais brings with him his own large fan base, and would give the network a monster promotional hook to promote The Office in the post-Carell era. The show is one of NBC’s few certifiable success stories, and getting Carell’s replacement right is key to the Peacock maintaining any sort of toehold on Thursdays, a night which still commands premium ad rates.