Paul Lieberstein Stepping Down As Office Showrunner, But What About Toby?

I’ve recently begun to work on a theory about Toby on The Office, and it’s one I was holding off on sharing until we had further evidence, but after this latest bit of news showed up online, I feel even more certain about it. We’ll get to that in a minute though.

Deadline reports that Paul Lieberstein, who plays Toby on The Office, is stepping down as executive producer/showrunner for the NBC comedy series. According to the site, he’s expected to help out on the show while he prepares the possible Dwight spinoff comedy series The Farm, which would star Rainn Wilson. The search is apparently under way to replace Lieberstein, and conversations are in the works to secure the core cast for another season.

Back to my theory, as I said, I was hoping to wait for the next new episode to see if anything further developments, but since the subject came up, here goes... During last week’s episode (“Get the Girl”), Toby accidentally introduced himself as "Tony" to Nellie. He brushed it off as though it was nothing. If Lieberstein is preparing to step down as showrunner, perhaps that also means Toby’s days are numbered, and the Toby/Tony mix-up has something to do with that. Deadline's article doesn't mention whether Lieberstein's on board to return to the series as Toby next season.

Whether or not Toby is being set up for an exit, there's this part of me that would love to see Michael Scott’s distaste for the HR rep justified somehow. What better way to do that than with a reveal that Toby really is a big weirdo, as Michael always claimed? In the spirit of pure speculation, what if Toby were the real Scranton Strangler? Not only would it be a twist (albeit a pretty dark one), but it would also explain his enthusiasm over getting to be a part of the jury for the original trial. What do you think? Totally out there? Or is this something you could picture happening?

Kelly West
Assistant Managing Editor

Kelly joined CinemaBlend as a freelance TV news writer in 2006 and went on to serve as the site’s TV Editor before moving over to other roles on the site. At present, she’s an Assistant Managing Editor who spends much of her time brainstorming and editing feature content on the site.