'The Office's' B.J. Novak Won't Be Full-Time in Season 9

The Office B.J. Novak - H 2012

The Office B.J. Novak - H 2012

Dunder Mifflin will be seeing less of B.J. Novak's Ryan Howard.

The Office co-star will not be returning for the upcoming ninth season as a series regular, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

As first reported by TV Guide, Novak no longer has a deal in place with Office studio Universal Television and will likely recur as well as continue to write and direct episodes of NBC's veteran comedy.

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Novak's reduced role comes as the aging comedy will lose co-star Mindy Kaling, who is departing her role as Kelly Kapoor to focus on her upcoming Fox comedy The Mindy Project (which also hails from Universal Television) and months after James Spader announced he would not return to the series.

Meanwhile, stars Ed Helms, John Krasinski and Jenna Fisher, are all poised to return to the comedy, withSeason 8 recurring guest star Catherine Tate upped to series regular earlier this month.

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For his part, Novak was an executive producer with his former on-screen love interest on Kaling's Fox comedy, which was ordered to series in May. He's expected to contribute to Mindy, though he does not have a permanent position on the series.

The Office has seen a somewhat revolving door since star Steve Carell's departure last year. In addition to the cast moves, showrunner Paul Lieberstein stepped down to focus on a potential Rainn Wilson-centered Dwight spinoff, with Greg Daniels returning to helm the series, which was renewed in May after the cast finalized deals to return.

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The series also added two new executive producers -- Dan Sterling and Brent Forrester -- to help fill the void left by Lieberstein's departure on the network's No. 1 comedy.

The Office returns Thursday, Sept. 20 at 9:30 p.m.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit