Steve Carell is leaving 'The Office' next May, E! confirms.
Carell told BBC in April that his contract expires at the end of this season and he did not plan to renew it. Now he has made it clear he wasn't just holding out for a better salary.
"I just think it's time," Carell told E! "I want to fulfill my contract. When I first signed on I had a contract for seven seasons, and this coming year is my seventh. I just thought it was time for my character to go."
Somehow he sees the show going on without Michael Scott.
"The show is great, and the ensemble is so strong, and the writers are great, so it's just one part of that ensemble drifting off," he said. "They've incorporated so many new characters and so many new, great storylines that I have no doubt it'll continue as strong if not stronger than ever."
This week's New Yorker has a profile on Carell in which he is quoted talking about his future:
Friend writes, "when his contract expires, next year, at the end of the seventh season." Carell seems a bit surprised to have become a star. When he goes on talk shows, he says, "I play a character who's more fascinating and gregarious than I am. I can do that for four to six minutes." Friend writes that he "expects the movie offers to dry up within five years, at which point he'll just volunteer at his kids' school."