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The Truth About How The Office Theme Song Was Chosen

Originally written by American journeyman musician Jay Ferguson and performed by The Scrantones (via The Magic Kitchen), the instrumental theme to "The Office" is still catchy and instantly recognizable 16 years after the show debuted on NBC. It's a short but indelible piece of music: a simple piano melody gives way to a full band, complete with accordion and pounding drums, later collapsing as the piano finishes the song.

Songwriter Ferguson commented to BMI that "The Office" theme itself mirrors the mood of the sitcom: "It's a main title that goes against type; it has this vulnerability, this yearning to it that soon explodes into this overdone optimism which then gets crushed — which is pretty much what the show is about."

But how did The Scrantones' song get chosen as the theme to one of the biggest sitcoms in recent network TV history? Here's how we got the instrumental "The Office" theme instead of The Kinks song the producers considered.

The cast ultimately chose the theme song we know and love

Originally "The Office" producers wanted an established song as the sitcom's theme. Ferguson noted in the BMI interview that "A Well Respected Man" by The Kinks was also in the running. Another song mentioned as a potential choice for the series' theme was the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) hit "Mr. Blue Sky" (Entertainment Weekly). Instead, they decided to use Ferguson's work.

Actor Steve Carrell, who played Michael Scott on "The Office," revealed in an interview with Indiewire that The Scrantones' song used on the show was chosen by the ensemble cast. "We had four different versions of the theme song from different artists, and Greg Daniels, the producer, sent us all versions ... And as a cast, we voted on what was going to be our theme song. It's kind of cool."

Considering all the cover versions of "The Office" theme that have been released since the show started, it's easy to imagine other musicians having good ideas for how to interpret the melody. Nevertheless, The Scrantones' version, with that enthusiastic full bar band sound, still feels like the right approach nearly two decades later.

You can currently watch "The Office" on Peacock.