Pop Culture

'The Office' is losing B.J. Novak as a series regular

Mitchell Haaseth / NBC / Today
B.J. Novak as Ryan Howard on "The Office."

Dunder-Mifflin temp Ryan Howard is cutting back his hours at “The Office,” according to TV Guide. While the man behind the character, B.J. Novak, will no longer be a full-time presence, he still plans to pop in as Ryan, as a writer and as a director for “The Office” in episodes to come, according to the magazine.

NBC declined to comment, but a source with ties to the show confirmed the news to us.

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Novak’s reduced role closely follows his good friend Mindy Kaling’s decision to leave “The Office” and begin her own show, “The Mindy Project,” which premieres in the fall on Fox. The departure of Kaling’s Kelly Kapoor and Novak’s smaller park mark big changes for “The Office” which saw its marquee character, Michael Scott (Steve Carell), leave Pennsylvania for Colorado in season seven’s humanizing, heartbreaking finale, “Goodbye Michael.”

As for how Ryan will end up at "The Office" less, details haven’t been revealed. Michael had a final “That’s what she said” when Pam Halpert (née Beesly, played by Jenna Fisher) wished him a tearful farewell at the airport, so we’re hoping for a similarly apt moment for Ryan. Perhaps he’ll be fired for arson à la season five’s “The Fire”?

Ryan’s time at Dunder-Mifflin was a bit of a roller coaster. Beginning as a temp, he quickly moved up the ranks, becoming the youngest vice president in the company’s history. It’s an understatement to say the promotion went to the youngster’s head, though, as he became “The Office’s” most condescending jerk and a lover of cocaine before being violently yanked down to earth when his “business tactics” were exposed as fraud.

Yet, Michael rehired him as a temp, so back from New York to Scranton Ryan came. Sporting a new “hipster” wardrobe with a slew of Macy’s-quality cardigans and chunky-framed glasses, he attempted the social media start-up WUPFH and got back to flirting with Kelly and her obsessive affections.

With such a great character stepping back from the show, it’s hard to face the fact that James Spader’s Robert California will also be exiting while John Krasinski’s Jim Halpert and Ed Helms’ Andy Bernard will be scaling back on their episode appearances in light of their increasingly busy movie schedules.

For all of us “Office” fans, Ryan and his ever-odd antics will be greatly missed.

With so many characters leaving and stepping back, who do you think "The Office" can't do without? Tell us on our Facebook page.

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