Steve Carell, the actor who plays comically inept boss Michael Scott on NBC's "The Office," has signaled he may be ready to leave the show. In an interview with the BBC, Carell said the sitcom's next season would "probably be my last year." Can the hit TV series carry on without Carell? (Listen to Steve Carell's BBC comments)

Not easily — his character fuels the show: It's difficult to imagine the show's surviving, says Joel Keller in TV Squad. The "bumbling, needy, child-like personality of Michael Scott" is about the only thing that drives "The Office" these days. If Carell's out, NBC should shut down the whole operation while it's still "relatively on top."
"Could 'The Office' survive without Steve Carell?"

It's time for the next generation: Actually, a "Carell-free" cast could re-invigorate the show, says Drew Magary in NBC Online. How much longer could we watch the "unrealistically stupid," faux-pas-prone Michael Scott implausibly hang onto a job? His exit would shift the emphasis to Dwight and open the door to "new, fresh characters." Besides, "it’s an office" — there should be turnover.
"The beginning of the end for Michael Scott?"

Negotiating tactic alert: Carell may be threatening to leave for the "greener pastures of the big screen," says Sean O'Neal in The A.V. Club, but we all know how these things work: This could just be a "prelude to renegotiating his contract." After six successful seasons, he's got leverage.
"Steve Carell says next season of The Office will 'probably be my last'"