Who Could Replace Steve Carell on 'The Office'?

With names including Will Ferrell, Ricky Gervais and Jim Carrey heading to the NBC comedy, THR takes a look at the prospective candidates.

After 148 episodes and five Emmy nominations, Steve Carell’s Michael Scott is leaving Dundler-Mifflin and The Office is seeing him off with an hourlong sendoff Thursday night. While speculation continues to swirl around who will replace the wry office manager, several notable guest stars will be heading to Scranton for the series three remaining Season 7 episodes before a new boss is crowned ahead of its already announced eighth season. [RELATED: Watch five clips from Thursday night's show.]
So who’s most likely to take over Carell’s gig on The Office? THR takes a look at all the Office-bound guest stars to see if there’s room in their schedules for the NBC comedy.
Ricky Gervais
Office work: Gervais’ David Brent first appeared on the NBC comedy in January, reprising his role from the original British series in a cameo where he bumped into Michael by the elevator. He’s set to make his second appearance in the season finale.
Upcoming: He’s set to appear in Disney’s The Muppets and lend his voice to WETA’s live-action/animatronic adaptation of The Wind in the Willows. He’s also writing (with Matt Selman), executive producing and appearing in Universal’s Flanimals as well as the BBC sitcom Life’s Too Short. Plus the Science Channel recently picked up his adventure series Idiot Abroad for a second season and HBO has added a third season of The Ricky Gervais Show.
Will Ferrell
Office work: Ferrell first appeared as Deangelo Vickers, Michael’s temporary replacement at Dundler-Mifflin’s Scranton branch, on April 14. Critics were impressed with his more muted performance and praised his chemistry with the cast. His arc is reportedly ending with the finale.
Upcoming: He’s executive producing Comedy Central’s sketch series Jon Benjamin Has a Van, set for summer; is in postproduction on Casa de mi Padre, and is filming Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie as well as producing Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, both of which are due next year. In addition, he has roles in four films -- including a comedic take on Sherlock Holmes opposite Sacha Baron Cohen for Columbia -- and is producing six, likely to keep him occupied through 2014.
Will Arnett
Office work: Among the throng of guest stars slated to appear in the Season 7 finale.
Upcoming: While Running Wilde may not have worked out with Fox, Arnett has signed on to play Christina Applegate’s stay-at-home husband in NBC’s untitled Emily Spivey comedy project from Lorne Michaels. Then there’s the rumored Arrested Development feature.
Jim Carrey

Office work: Also signed on for the finale.
Upcoming: The Fox feature Mr. Popper’s Penguins is set for a June release and he has at least five other projects he’s signed on to through 2013, including Me Time, Sober Buddies and Damn Yankees, opposite Jake Gyllenhaal.
Ray Romano
Office work: Part of the star-studded finale.
Upcoming: Romano is set for Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift sequel, due in July 2012, and Season 2 of TNT’s Men of a Certain Age bows June 1. No announcement has been made for Season 3.
Catherine Tate
Office work: Finale bound.
Upcoming: The Doctor Who actress has Monte Carlo with Leighton Meester due in July and appears to have a clear schedule beyond the Fox 2000 adventure.
James Spader
Office work: Appearing in the finale.
Upcoming: The Boston Legal veteran has been focusing on feature films more recently, with the thriller By Virtue Fall with Carla Gugino and Eric Bana in preproduction. But beyond that …
The Office’s hourlong Season 7 finale airs May 19 on NBC.