Jenna Fischer back at the ‘Office’
LOS ANGELES — Cue the water-cooler chatter.
It turns out fans of The Office may have doubly good reason to rejoice when the Emmy-winning comedy returns in April, says Jenna Fischer.
The actress, better known as girl-next-door and office receptionist Pam, tells Sun Media the drones of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company were working on a series-best installment when the work stoppage by Hollywood’s scribes mothballed production.
“The episode we were shooting when we got shut down is maybe the funniest episode I’ve ever read. It’s a plotline the writers have been talking about for two years and it planted all the seeds that would pay off for the rest of the season … It’s a great, great episode where (Steve Carell’s Michael Scott) throws a dinner party.”
Fischer made the remarks during a recent mid-strike interview.
The Office had completed 12 of 28 episodes before film and TV scribes swapped their pens for pickets last November. The first post-strike The Office will air April 10, along with fellow NBC Thursday-night series 30 Rock, Scrubs and ER. My Name is Earl returns to the peacock network a week earlier with its first post-strike episode set for April 3.
Yet even as Hollywood continues to deal with the fallout from the work stoppage, attention has turned to the potential walkout by the Screen Actors Guild this summer.
Last week, George Clooney, Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep and Robert De Niro took out an ad in Variety urging union bosses to begin contract negotiations immediately and avoid another industry-crippling labour action in June.
Still, Fischer says the issue the writers battled over — namely residual payments from new media revenue streams — is just as critical to actors.
“Most people in SAG, they live mainly on their residuals. I think of myself and I’m doing very well right now and you can feel very financially secure because I have work and I have a job and I try not to get too doomsday about it, but I think about shows that were really popular 15 years ago — and what are those actors doing these days? You can be hot one minute and not the next and in 15 or 20 years I might really need those residual cheques to get by.”
In the meantime, the U.S. broadcast networks continue to set post-strike return dates.
On March 17, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory and Two and a Half Men will be back. Also announced by CBS: Cold Case (March 30); CSI and Without a Trace (April 3); Ghost Whisperer (April 4).
ABC and the producers of Lost have announced their current run of new episodes will end March 13 with the seventh episode of the fourth season.
The show will then go off the air for six weeks and return April 24 with the eighth episode that was shot pre-strike to be followed by five post-strike episodes.
As well on May 1, Lost moves back one hour on Thursdays to make room for the return of Grey’s Anatomy (for five post-strike episodes).
Over at The CW, executives have also finalized their post-strike schedule. Everybody Loves Chris returns March 2 with new episodes that were filmed before the strike. Other notable dates on the fledging youth-centric network: Gossip Girl (April 21, for nine new episodes); One Tree Hill (April 22, for six new episodes); Reaper (April 22, for five more episodes), Smallville (April 17, for five more episodes) and Supernatural (April 24, for four more episodes).
Also, it has been confirmed by NBC that Heroes and Chuck won’t re-appear until the fall, while 24 isn’t back on the clock for the Fox network until January.
Welcome back, one and all!! Even you, Mr. Kotter!
Jenna Fischer back at the ‘Office’