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Could "The Office" Work as a One-Hour Show?

Could "The Office" Work as a One-Hour Show?

"The Office" is one of the best half-hour comedies on TV — but what if it were an hour-long show instead? That's a move NBC is apparently considering, according to a profile of network CEO Jeff Zucker in Fortune Magazine. (I don't usually read Fortune for my TV news, so thanks to GMMR for the tip.) Buried deep in the story is this little gem:

At NBC's "upfront" presentation to advertisers on May 14, Zucker says he expects NBC to unveil five new programs — three dramas, one comedy, and one reality show — for its fall schedule. Zucker and [NBC entertainment president Kevin] Reilly are considering stretching "The Office" to an hour and canceling the original "Law & Order."

Could it work? The one-hour Christmas episode was among this season's strongest, and the occasional "supersized" episodes and multitude of deleted scenes each week on the show's NBC site prove that there's more in every episode than the roughly 22 minutes that make it to air.

On the other hand, a one-hour show might feel too long, so

I worry that making the show an hour every week could prompt the writers to pad the funny bits with more traditional dramatic storylines that don't deserve the time. Already, the Jim/Pam drama is wearing thin for me, and I imagine we'd only get more of it in a one-hour show. I can't think of any comedies that have worked well in an hour-long format — unless David E. Kelley-style "dramedies" count — and I imagine it would be hard to write a full hour's worth of the snappy dialogue and ridiculous situations that are the strongest parts of "The Office" right now.

Still, I'm not sure more Dwight Schrute is ever a bad thing. What do you think? Could "The Office" work as a one-hour show?


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