The workplace comedy The Office, an adaptation of Ricky Gervais’ show of the name, is Netflix’s No. 1 most popular show “by far.” That’s according to actor Brian Baumgartner, who said on a recent podcast that The Office is No. 1 by a huge margin.
“It’s not even close,” the Kevin Malone actor said on the Erik Anders Lang Show.
He said The Office is more popular now than it was when it originally aired on NBC in the 2000s. The reason why The Office is so enduringly popular is because it’s “subversive,” according to Baumgartner. He said young people in particular respond to its kind of humor, especially Steve Carell’s Michael Scott character who is known to make off-color jokes about race and sexual orientation.
“The show is bigger now than it was at the height of the show,” Baumgartner said. “It’s because it’s subversive. It appeals to that younger demographic … Some people who watched it when it came out, they’re still watching it, or watching it with their kids. It just keeps repopulating because of young people.”
“I don’t think it’s a secret; it is verifiably the number one show on Netflix right now which is the number one thing in the world,” he added. “By the way, it’s not close. I don’t know how much really I am supposed to say. It’s crazy.”
Baumgartner is presumably talking about popularity by measure of viewership. He’s also probably talking about popularity in the United States, as The Office isn’t available on Netflix worldwide. In Australia, for example, The Office streams on Stan, not Netflix.
A revival of The Office is reportedly in the works, but Carrel is not going to be involved. The actor thinks it’s a bad idea to bring back The Office because “the climate’s different” in regards to the kinds of jokes people think are acceptable.
“Apart from the fact that I just don’t think that’s a good idea [to bring back The Office], it might be impossible to do that show today and have people accept it the way it was accepted ten years ago,” he said. “The climate’s different. I mean, the whole idea of that character, Michael Scott, so much of it was predicated on inappropriate behavior.”
NBC Universal owns The Office, and Netflix pays a licensing fee to have The Office on Netflix. The current contract to keep The Office on Netflix expires in 2021, according to The Wall Street Journal. At that time, or perhaps sooner, Netflix would have to pay NBC Universal to retain The Office, and another layer of complexity is that NBC is launching its own streaming service relatively soon.
Netflix’s No. 2 show is believed to be Friends. Netflix reportedly paid $100 million to WarnerMedia to keep Friends on Netflix at least until the end of 2019.
Also on the podcast, Baumgartner talked about why The Office was the “worst possible show you could be on.” Unlike other shows where actors come in, film their scenes, and leave, The Office kept each actor on set at the time time. He says he worked 12-14 hours per day to film one episode.
According to reports, the new version of The Office will feature a combination of returning cast members and newcomers, while a new boss is reportedly coming in to take over for Michael Scott. Once again, it would take place at Dunder Mifflin’s office in Scranton, PA.