'Outsourced' stars: Who should replace Steve Carell?

7:24 AM PST 09/10/2010 by Lesley Goldberg, AP

Newest NBC workplace comedy actors vote for Ricky Gervais, Rainn Wilson

We won't find out who will replace Steve Carell on "The Office" until the end of the seventh season (as The Hollywood Reporter exclusively revealed Friday), but the cast of NBC's rookie workplace comedy, "Outsourced" (premiering Sept. 23), has a few suggestions on who could step into bumbling Michael Scott's shoes.

Ben Rappaport, who plays the lead on the series (which some are comparing to "the new 'Office'"), told THR on Thursday at the Paley Center's NBC Fall TV preview night in Beverly Hills, "My pick has to be Dwight [Rainn Wilson] … I think who ever takes over as the boss has to keep everybody on their toes and I think Dwight is the guy to do it."

Co-star Parvesh Cheena agrees that Carell's successor should come from within Dunder-Mifflin.

"As much as I love John Krasinski's character, Jim, if you have Dwight as the head of the office, I think there's a lot more conflict that you can have," said Cheena, noting that he wanted to fashion his character, Gupta, as part Dwight, Stanley (Leslie David Baker), Creed (Creed Bratton) and Kevin (Brian Baumgartner). "I definitely have the ghost of Rainn Wilson behind me."

U.K. native Sacha Dhawan and castmate Rebecca Hazlewood have other ideas in mind for Carell's replacement.

"I have to be very British here and say Ricky Gervais. It'd be nice to see him working with some new employees," said Dhawan. Producers on the show are hopeful Gervais will make a guest appearance this season.

Added Hazlewood: "It would have to be Ricky Gervais. To me it makes perfect sense to have David Brent come from the U.K. to America I think he would just be perfect."

As for Matt Walsh, whose character sets the show in motion when he transfers Rappaport's Todd to India, he'd rather the job remain in-house.

"My first instinct is to keep it within the office because we know those characters," he said before briefly considering Jason Bateman. "It's actually raising the stakes because we know, 'This guy is terrible, now he's running the show? I want to watch this disaster.' But I would love to see Ricky Gervais do it. Or I'll throw a wild card -- Garry Shandling. He plays it real."

While both shows have their similarities -- the office story, Ken Kwapis' involvement as director and producer -- "Outsourced's" India setting isn't their only difference.

"The comedy lies in that these people really like their jobs and want to do well and are trying to overcome these obstacles," Rappaport noted of the ragtag group of employees he inherits when his job is suddenly outsourced to India.

"We're getting compared a lot to 'The Office,' which is great," Dhawan said.

Not to be outdone, "Outsourced's" scheming local office manager Rizwan Manji was open to outsourcing Carell's job.

"Maybe as my second job I'll come in and be the manager of Dunder-Mifflin," he joked to THR.
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