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Here's Who Was Actually The First Actor Hired For The Office

"The Office" is one of the most popular sitcoms of recent years and has, arguably, already become an iconic series. Developed by Greg Daniels, the American series is based on the British sitcom of the same name, which starred Ricky Gervais. The mockumentary-style series follows the work-life of a set of employees who work at the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Running from 2005 to 2013, "The Office" made a household name of Steve Carell, who stars as the ignorant but mostly well-meaning general manager Michael Scott. It also launched the careers of John Krasinski, who is now a successful writer-director as well as actor, and Mindy Kaling, who went on to create and star in her own show, "The Mindy Project," after serving as a writer on the sitcom as well as a key cast member. Additionally, the rest of the ensemble cast — including Rainn Wilson, Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey, Ellie Kemper, and Ed Helms — remain some of the most recognizable actors out there, thanks to their time on "The Office."

Most fans of "The Office" would agree that of all the actors listed above, Carell is the name and face most associated with the show (despite him having departed the show after Season 7, with two seasons left to go). So, it may come as a surprise that Carell was not the first actor to be cast. In fact, neither was Krasinski or Fischer, the two actors who make up the series' key will-they-or-won't-they couple. 

B.J. Novak was cast first

B.J. Novak played temp-turned-vice president Ryan Howard and also served as a writer, executive producer, and occasional director on the show. On top of all of that, Novak was also the first person to be cast in a series role. This fact was confirmed in an episode of the podcast "Office Ladies," which is hosted by two of the show's actors, Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. In each episode of the podcast, Fischer and Kinsey rewatch an episode of "The Office" and then discuss it, often divulging some behind-the-scenes facts. In the pilot episode of the podcast, Fischer reveals the "fun fact" that Novak was the first to be cast — which even took Kinsey by surprise.

Fischer continued, "Greg Daniels saw him doing standup comedy. And he thought this guy, I want this guy. So he offered B.J. a role as both a writer and the role of Ryan the temp on the show. So when I came in for my audition, B.J. was already cast. He was the very first person. And he was also the first example of that synergy of having people who were both performers and writers for the show.

In an interview with Playboy, Novak was asked if he thought the series would be such a big hit back when he was the first one cast. Novak responded, "Honestly, at every stage I thought it would be a big hit. No one really believed that back then, but I never doubted it."