The Office

Paul Drinkwater/NBC

Intern Lindsey Osborne here! On Wednesday, I hit the LATV Festival, which is presented by the National Association of Television Program Executives (NATPE), and scored a little one-on-one time with Kent Zbornak, coexecutive producer on The Office. Because I know you need to know, I pressed him for a little scoop on the upcoming season...

Congratulations on the nine Emmy nominations! I’m really rooting for you. It’s one of my favorite shows.
Thank you.

What has it been like preparing for the 30-episode order this season?
It's been a little tough. We were blessed with that fact that when we were finishing the post process on the third season [show runner] Greg [Daniels] was with us editing for four or five weeks to get the season finale finished. We decided to do something different with this season.

Normally, when we wrap a season, we'll give the writers an eight-week break before we start the new season. Since Greg was already there, we said, Why don't we just have the writers stick around, start breaking stories for the next season, and then they can go off and write? So, we spent five or six weeks in March, April and early May breaking stories for the beginning of the season, and then we sent every writer off with stories.

All of the writers came back July 9, after the holiday, and we had 13 scripts in our hands. I mean four of those are one-hour scripts, but they equate to 13 scripts. So, we did have 13 episodes in our hands already, and we're going to have another three scripts coming in late next week. So, we're a bit ahead of the game. We've got 16 scripts already out of the 30.

I heard that the first four episodes are the one-hour episodes.
That is correct, and they will air back-to-back. Starting Sept. 29, our first hour will air, and then the following Thursdays our other three hours will air.

Do you have any teasers about anything coming up? Any Dunder-Mifflin field trips? Any new couplings?
There will be new couplings. That's all I'll say.

Ryan obviously got the job in the season finale. Will he still be around as much this season?
Ryan is going to be around. Because B.J. [Novak] is instrumental to us as a writer, this was actually a unique story to us that allowed us to still have his character on board, and now he's in the Jan capacity, occupying Jan's office at corporate in New York. It gives us the ability to see him on occasion, and the rest of the time he'll be actually with us writing and rewriting. But he's still in the process, and of course, now he's in the role of being Michael's boss. You're going to see a lot of fun with that.

That should be interesting.
I have to say, Ryan's character has embraced his corporate lifestyle, and he's going to be a tough boss for Michael down the road.

On to Jim and Pam. In the season finale, they moved forward in their relationship. Anything you can tell us about that? Will they be dating?
Will they be dating? Hmmm…

Are we going to see a date possibly?
I will say that they've taken that step up. Our first episode takes place two months after that particular moment, and they take a step up.

Are they exclusive?
It's going to be revealed in the first episode. You'll have a very clear definition of who they are and where they're going.

One last question. Is Jan really moving in with Michael, and will we be seeing Melora Hardin in stretch pants?
[Laughs.] That's a good question. You guys have done a lot of great homework. We laid the foundation that it appears that Jan is moving in with Michael. And I think, in that respect, she is going to embrace her life as a hausfrau.

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