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September 19, 2014

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Mindy Kaling Voicing and Writing New Animated Series, 'Secret Circle' Promotes Hunk and More Casting News

by Chris Harnick, posted Dec 8th 2011 12:30PM
Mindy KalingMindy Kaling, one of the only reasons to watch 'The Office' this season, is at work on a new animated series with 'The Office' and 'King of the Hill' executive producer Greg Daniels.

According to Deadline, she'll write, executive produce and voice a character on the series about a girls high school volleyball team.

'Parks and Recreation' producer Alan Yang is also working on a new animated project with Daniels. Yang's series is about a group of Los Angeles twentysomething guys who share a house in Hancock Park.

In other casting news ...

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Nick Offerman on Being Ron "F@%&in'" Swanson

by Joel Keller, posted Feb 11th 2010 2:01PM
Nick Offerman of Parks and RecreationWhen viewers and critics first saw the government-hating parks director Ron Swanson on 'Parks and Recreation,' they didn't quite know what to make of him. Is he just a hard-ass? Or was there more to him?

Well, as the show has improved so has viewers' opinion of Ron, played by Nick Offerman. In the first half of 'Parks and Rec's' second season, Swanson has become a favorite of fans and critics; we've seen his love of breakfast food, his ability to build a small harp while drinking, and his secret life as smooth jazz stylist Duke Silver. And the 'stache... oh, the 'stache. It's the best one on primetime since Tom Selleck's.

When I was at the NBC party at the TCAs last month, I spoke to Offerman about how Swanson has developed, having his real-life wife (Megan Mullally) play Swanson's ex, and if we're going to see more of Swanson's jazzy alter ego.

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Amy Ryan has no idea if she's coming back to The Office next season

by Joel Keller, posted May 28th 2009 3:02PM
Steve Carell and Amy RyanThis morning, I had a really fun interview with Amy Ryan, who's taking a little time off after a busy couple of years. During the conversation, which mostly revolved around her fantastic guest turn on The Office as Michael Scott's soulmate Holly Flax, I had to ask her the question most Office fans have been wondering about since the season finale: Is she coming back?

Your guess is as good as hers. "They keep that (the plans for Holly) under wraps, if they are indeed thinking of it. There's no plan there." When I asked her if she was under contract for any episodes next season, she said she wasn't.

What is she hoping Greg Daniels and company do with Holly in the coming years? "The viewer in me, the fan of the show, hopes that they (Michael and Holly) get together. The actor in me would love to see that there's still conflict along the way. That's where it's fun."

I'll have the complete interview with Ryan next week.

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Parks and Recreation: Make My Pit a Park (series premiere)

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 10th 2009 12:36AM
Parks & Recreation
(S01E01)
While at its heart, and based on its creators (Michael Schur and Greg Daniels of The Office), you can't help but compare Parks & Recreation to The Office. They both film in that mockumentary style, they both feature clueless leads, and they have some of the same comic sensibilities. But how many multi-camera family sitcoms were on the air back in the '80s? Seinfeld and Friends clones in the '90s? Crime procedurals in the '00s?

It doesn't matter if a show shares similar traits with another if it has a voice all its own. And as I indicated in my "Early Look" of Parks & Recreation, they even use the documentary-style camera work differently. But the real difference for me is in the work of Amy Poehler.

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Amy Ryan bringing Holly back to Michael on The Office

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 16th 2009 12:02PM
The Office
There's good news for fans of Michael and Holly on The Office, and potentially even better news. When Amy Ryan first stepped in to fill Toby's shoes as the HR rep for the Scranton branch of Dunder-Mifflin, I wasn't sure how well she'd fit with the regular cast. The last time we got a massive infusion of new blood on the show via the branch merger, we wound up losing every one of the new cast members except for Andy (Ed Helms).

But then her wacky synergy with Michael really clicked, and suddenly I was happy for the both of them. And it was genuinely painful when she had to leave. I'm pleased to see that Greg Daniels, who steers The Office ship, really does get it. In the release announcing the return of Amy Ryan to The Office this season, he stated "I don't think she can blow in and out every so often. It would be too hard for [Michael] as a human being." He barely survived her leaving the first time, so it's good to see that Daniels has too much respect for the characters to just bring her in when convenient for ratings, or whatever.

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Details of Poehler's Office "spin-off" finally revealed

by Joel Keller, posted Jan 15th 2009 11:33AM
Amy PoehlerFor a variety of reasons, I decided to not go to the Winter edition of the TCA press tour. So far, my choice to stay in frigid Jersey has been justified; not much in the way of big news has come out of the tour, and it seems like the networks are very happy about that.

However, if I was there, I would have apparently received the pilot script to the new Amy Poehler-led sitcom that's being written and produced by the folks from The Office, as Rob Owen of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did yesterday. He revealed some details about what the show's going to be about, and they're... interesting.

The show will be shot documentary-style like The Office. In it, Poehler plays Leslie Knope, who is, according to Owen, a "mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks and Recreation Department of Pawnee, Indiana." She works with a local nurse (Rashida Jones) to turn a construction site into a park, and has to battle the usual local-government nemeses at every turn, including those "traffic and noise" complainers and a town official (Aziz Ansari). All the while, she's followed by an intern (Aubrey Plaza) that she hopes to inspire.

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The Office: Will we learn more about Creed's background?

by Jane Boursaw, posted Aug 10th 2008 10:03AM
The Office to air after Super BowlYou know, I've always wondered about Creed's background. We know he was with the 1960's band The Grass Roots, he runs a fake I.D. business with a laminating machine stolen from the police department, he faked his own death so he could get benefits, he keeps bean sprouts in his desk, and he's been homeless.

Now maybe we'll get to learn even more about his background. In a major time-slot coup, it looks like a one-hour episode of The Office will air directly following the Super Bowl on Feb. 1, 2009. Exec producer Paul Lieberstein said these longer eps offer a great opportunity to delve into the characters:

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Poehler will not be in an Office spin-off, but Rashida Jones may reprise Karen - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 21st 2008 4:41PM
Poehler and JonesOne of the more interesting things to come out of the Silverman-Graboff executive session (which I promise will be up later today ... probably this evening) is that, though Amy Poehler has been signed to be in a show produced by The Office's Greg Daniels and Mike Schur, that show will not be an Office spin-off. It'll have the same comic sensibility and style as The Office, but the characters won't be part of the Office universe. However, a real Office spin-off is still in play, and there's potential for Rashida Jones to be a part of it.

Got that? Neither did the critics, who repeatedly asked mostly Silverman to clarify the situation during both the panel and the scrum that followed.

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Aziz Ansari cast on Office spin-off; is he still on Scrubs?

by Joel Keller, posted Jun 13th 2008 12:02PM
Aziz AnsariAziz Ansari seems to be the hottest name around Hollywood casting circles. According to Variety, the stand-up comedian, who's also one-third of the MTV's acclaimed sketch team Human Giant, has been cast in the upcoming Office spin-off. He's also signed a one-year talent hold deal with Universal Media Studios.

What's interesting about this news is that Ansari was also tapped to play one of the new interns on the eighth season of Scrubs, which is produced by and will now air on ABC. What I'm guessing is that, since Scrubs will finish shooting in August, this deal will start after his deal with the veteran medical comedy ends. If there happens to be a ninth season of the show, as Bill Lawrence told me might happen, I'd imagine he'd come back after his Universal deal ends or they'll just replace him with someone else.

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When writers act, or actors write, at The Office

by Brett Love, posted Dec 17th 2006 2:05PM
Paul LiebersteinI'm just catching up after the closest thing that I have ever seen to a hurricane blew through volcano country and knocked out the power for 30 hours, and my internet has just gone all Dunder Miflin on me. Anyway, there is a good article over at the L.A. Times about writers as actors and what that means for comedy on television.

The focus is on The Office as many of the members of the cast are also the writers of the show. Executive producer Greg Daniels (The Simpsons) goes through his reasons for choosing to move people from the writers room in front of the camera. And it's not just because he's lazy. There is a method to his madness. Given the mockumentary style of the show, he feels that unpolished actors that may seem awkward at times add to the realism of the show.

They also touch on the character of Toby. Played by Paul Lieberstein, Toby was originally intended as a bit part. But when NBC President Kevin Reilly saw the character he responded, "He's funny. More of him." And Paul's acting career was born. The story for Mindy Kaling's character, Kelly, is much the same. Both of them say that they prefer writing to acting. Joel talked with Kelly about this back in March as well. It's a good behind the scenes piece, and worth a look.

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