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Steve Carell's days manning a desk at Dunder Mifflin are winding down, and as each episode passes until his imminent departure the whispers surrounding his replacement grow louder. A few weeks ago, some insiders pegged Ricky Gervais (the creator of the original, British incarnation of the show) as the prohibitive favorite. Since then the hearsay has become more scattered as the show's writers peruse options as wide ranging as Danny McBride, Rhys Darby and even 30 Rock's Alec Baldwin. With the rumor mill now in full operation, the Web has no shortage of predictions or suggestions for NBC:

  • Why Don't They Hire From Within?  asks Gerard McGarry at the blog, Unreality Shout. Since trying to top the Michael Scott character will be tough to do, "It might be less pressure on the show if an established character takes over the reins, rather than a change of management."
  • My Vote? Bring Back Jan  offers Richard Larson at Gawker. Forget about searching for any replacement for Carrell and "change the show to Drunk Jan Puts On Music and Does Her Sad Drunk Dance, because really that scene is the best the show's ever been."
  • Put a Fork In It. It's Done.  proclaims Krystal Clark at ScreenCrave. "Let’s be real, if a new character magically pops up towards the end of this season, they’re going to register as a replacement to the audience. People aren’t stupid, they can see through that type of casting. It sounds like they’re trying to make the transition smooth and less obvious, which is what Carell wants."
  • Maybe Pam Should Be Promoted  writes Margaret Lyons at Entertainment Weekly. "Mrs. Halpert is the most emotionally intelligent staffer, able to communicate effectively with the various factions of crazyfolk that make DMHQ so fantastic, but she’s a bit underqualified in the sales department." Plus, it "give[s] her and Jim something to talk about other than parenthood."
  • Whatever They Do, It Should Be a Surprise  figures Ethan Anderton at Collider. Danny McBride would be a solid choice for a replacement, but perhaps not as inspired as Rhys Darby who "would be a fantastic and strange blend of Gervais and Carell." Either way, speculation is becoming rampant and knowing that this decision will have a "huge impact," it warrants a "surprising direction."

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