‘The Office’ Almost Got Canceled ‘A Lot,’ Former Star Details

The actor recently told Conan O’Brien on his podcast just how close the runaway hit came to the chopping block.

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Perhaps more astonishing than the stratospheric success of The Office is that NBC almost canceled the show on multiple occasions.

B.J. Novak recently told Conan O’Brien on his podcast just how close the runaway hit came to the chopping block. Novak was an actor in, and writer and producer of, the U.S. version of The Office.

The Office was almost canceled a lot,” Novak said on the latest episode of Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend. Novak’s remark appeared in a clip of the interview that surfaced Wednesday on YouTube.

Novak made the comment during a larger discussion with O’Brien about American TV shows. The actor pursued a career in TV because the two “smartest” shows, Seinfeld and The Simpsons, also had massive viewerships.

“I thought that’s where I want to work, where you can actually make the best thing — and it might be the most popular thing,” Novak said.

O’Brien countered that many of the TV shows he most enjoyed did not, in fact, find success. Novak agreed in part, saying two of his favorite programs ever — Mr. Show With Bob and David and Nathan for You — didn’t achieve massive levels of mainstream success.

But, Novak said, “I think TV, more than other art forms, does reward quality.”

Story continues after the video.

B.J. Novak, Odd Man Out At ‘The Office’?

At another point in the conversation, Novak joked that he felt left out among his Office cast mates while on set.

In a clip from the conversation released Monday, O’Brien noted the litany of actors who interned for him and wound up on The Office.

“I didn’t even know that was an option!” Novak said. “When they talked about it on set, I felt so left out.”

Story continues after the video.

Novak also played an integral role in two other TV series, The Mindy Project and The Premise. His directorial debut in film, a dark comedy called Vengeance, hit theaters Friday but fared poorly at the box office.

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