SteveCarell is probably leaving "The Office" after next year, the actor says.
A big-time movie career has apparently made doing a weekly TV series unnecessary for Carell.
And it raises the question whether the show will last without its unquestioned star.
The news came yesterday during an interview on British TV. Carell is promoting his new movie "Date Night."
"How long does your contract run?" the interviewer asked, "Through next season," the actor replied.
"And will you stay after that?" he was asked.
"I don't think so," Carell replied. "I think that will probably be my last year."
Carell originated the role of Michael Scott, the bumbling, overbearing office boss at a Scranton, Pa. paper mill.
The series was based on the hit British series of the same name.
Credit for creating a stand-alone, Americanized version of the comedy went in large part to Carell, who was able to create a new character rather than ape Ricky Gervais' leading role in the original.
In fact, the US version has lasted on TV much longer (six seasons) than the British original (just two seasons and a holiday special).