Steve Carell Will Exit ‘The Office’ Early

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Possible replacements for his character Michael Scott include internal and external candidates.

NEW YORK – Steve Carell will leave The Office early.

His Michael Scott character will leave Dunder-Mifflin about a month before the season ends in May, according to show runner Paul Lieberstein, Vulture reports.

"Steve will have a number of episodes that dramatize and lead up to Steve leaving," the producer told the New York magazine blog. "Then we'll continue on for about four more episodes, and the spring will prove to be not about an actor leaving, but what happens in an office when a manager leaves and the chaos ensues and people vie for the job and are uncertain about their future."

Lieberstein confirmed that the show will explore both internal and external candidates as replacements for Scott. "We are talking about guest stars" coming in to basically interview for the position, he explained. Kathy Bates, for example, confirmed Thursday that she will return for a few episodes later in the season.

As for internal candidates, such names as Darryl, Dwight, Andy as well as Mindy Kaling's Kelly have been mentioned. About the latter, head writer Daniel Chun said: "Now that she has executive training, she's going to want that job."