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Peacock's The Office Spin-Off Is About a Dying Newspaper, Which, uh, Sounds Like Fun

Greg Daniels teams up with Nathan for You's Michael Koman to explore the not-so-slow death of print media, haha.
  • The Office (Photo: Everett Collection)
    The Office (Photo: Everett Collection)

    A new version of The Office is coming to Peacock soon, and it's going straight into the heart of a dying medium: print journalism. We can feel the good vibes already!

    Greg Daniels, who was behind the U.S. adaptation of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's UK original, is teaming up with Nathan for You co-creator Michael Koman on the new comedy, which is set in the same universe as NBC's The Office. Despite the implication, the show, which will stream on Peacock, won't be set in Pennsylvania once more. Apparently, by "same universe," what Daniels and Koman mean is the work lives of the documentary crew who spent a decade filming a bunch of workers in a regional office of a midsize paper company (and crushing on at least one of them). 

    Per the press release, the indefatigable crew who "immortalized Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch" go out in search of a new subject and "discover a dying historic Midwestern newspaper and the publisher trying to revive it with volunteer reporters." It is truly impressive how that sentence grows more depressing with each word, which means Daniels and Koman — and stars Domnhall Gleeson and The White Lotus' Sabrina Impacciatore — have their work cut out for them. 

    We don't have many other specifics about the show, which has just been picked up to series and will begin production in July. There is kind of a real-life analog to the "dying paper staffs up with volunteers" storyline, though; the Dudenville Gazette, a non-profit paper in Dudenville, Missouri, was revived by volunteer reporters in 2023. Nothing suggests that Daniels and Koman took inspiration from the people of Dudenville, though doesn't the name "Dudenville" practically demand its own water tower shot in the opening credits?

    But if you'll let us get on our soapbox here, while the Dudenville Gazette revival seems like a heartwarming story, it's much more in line with people funding each other's health care through GoFundMe campaigns. Good journalism costs money to produce, but there are much greater costs to society if we have none. And being a journalist is a job, so people should be paid to do it, even fictional ones. TV has so rarely gotten journalism right, that the latitude afforded to comedies in depicting something with accuracy feels like a luxury.

    Daniels is a pro at the "plucky group of people face overwhelming odds, but at least they're doing it together" stories, as seen on Parks & Recreation (which was much better at balancing the sweet and sour elements of small-town governance than it's currently remembered for). With any luck, he and Koman will look to sites like Defector, 404 Media, and Aftermath — all worker-owned publications — for inspiration in crafting a smart and realistic show about what power (in this case, media) looks like in the hands of the people. 

    Danette Chavez is the Editor-in-Chief of Primetimer and its biggest fan of puns.

    TOPICS: The Office (US), Peacock