'The Office' Opens a New Branch

"The Office" executive producer Greg Daniels will oversee a spinoff of the series, and it will premiere with the highest possible profile. That much we know.

As for the rest of it -- its title, premise, stars, locale, even how many episodes will get made -- NBC isn't telling.

Nonetheless, NBC is planning to premiere the show, along with an episode of "The Office," after its broadcast of Super Bowl XLIII in February, when a good 30 million people will likely be watching (that's the five-year average for the post-Super Bowl program). Daniels will serve as the new show's executive producer.

"What better lead-in for the 'Office' spinoff than 'The Office' itself?" NBC co-chairman Ben Silverman said Wednesday at NBC's schedule presentation. "The entire creative team behind 'The Office'" -- including Silverman himself, who in his previous life as a producer brought the show to NBC -- "is behind this show."

That's all he'll say about it, though, cutting off questions about it with the statement, "The watermark idea will not be shared today."

For his part, Daniels is excited at scoring the post-Super Bowl slot. Or perhaps appalled: "Who would have ever thought that Americans would be subjected to a mock-documentary after the Super Bowl?" he says in a statement. "What has happened to this country?"

Daniels, who co-created "King of the Hill" and has also worked on " The Simpsons" and "Saturday Night Live," will be a busy man in the next year. NBC has ordered 28 episodes of "The Office" -- including several hour-long shows (which count as two episodes in network accounting) to start the season) -- and will oversee between six and 13 episodes of the new show. "We're going to work with Greg, based on whatever he thinks he can deliver for us," Silverman says.

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