We don't know what the forthcoming spinoff of "The Office" will be, but we know what it won't be.
It won't be "The Dwight Show."
Despite widespread rumors, Rainn Wilson will not be leaving "The Office" and taking his character, Dwight Schrute, with him. (The spinoff will premiere after NBC's coverage of the Super Bowl in February.)
In a conference call with TV critics, both Wilson and executive producer Greg Daniels made it clear Dwight is not going anywhere that he will remain a member of "The Office" ensemble.
Daniels indicated it's already a bit of a struggle not to let Dwight overwhelm the show he's already a part of.
"Obviously, Dwight is super funny and people love Dwight," said Daniels. "And they buy Dwight dolls and stuff like that.
"But if it just became 'The Dwight Show' ... "
"There would be nothing wrong with that," Wilson interjected.
The rumors began months ago, long before NBC announced the "Office" spinoff. And Wilson said he was himself responsible for them, albeit somewhat inadvertently.
In New York to be a presenter at last year's Tony Awards, a reporter tossed him a question.
"He's, like, 'Hey, Rainn, Ben Silverman is in charge at NBC now so what's next for Dwight?' As I walked by, I was, like, 'I don't know. I smell a Dwight spin-off.'
"And he goes, 'Can I quote you on that? Can I quote you on that?' And I just walked away and then it was all over TV. It's preposterous," Wilson said.
Note to Wilson: The next time that happens, say, "No. I was only kidding."Simple enough.
IF DWIGHT DID spin off onto his own show, it wouldn't look anything like "The Office."
"Well, we joke around (in the writers room). We talk about a detective agency," Daniels said.
Which set Wilson to thinking about something that would be a throwback to 1970s TV.
"What was the one that was Dennis Weaver on a horse or something?" he asked.
"'McCloud,"' Daniels said. "That's great. I love it."
"Yeah," said Wilson. "McCloud was a fish-out-of-water cop in New York City, and there's something appealing about that."There's something appealing about just watching Dwight going in an opposite direction. Not having it be a comedy or a sitcom but just having it be a reality show about a beet farmer."
AMONG THE MORE popular items at the NBC Store is a Dwight bobblehead. Wilson took one home for his 3 1/2-year-old son, "which he used to really be into. Now he couldn't care less about it."
Still, Wilson said it's a bit surreal to walk into that NBC Store and see a collection of Dwight bobbleheads.
"I feel like Mr. Potato Head," he said. "I think in the future I will be known not for the character of Dwight, but just for the bobblehead."And I think in the far future humanity like 10,000 years from now will, like, uncover Dwight bobbleheads and think that I was a great leader of men."
E-mail: [email protected]