Despite denials from producers and Steve Carell himself, the one-time star of “The Office,” will be returning for an appearance in the upcoming series finale. The long-running laffer signs off with a super-sized 75-minute finale on May 16.
Carell contended six consecutive times in the Comedy Actor category for his portrayal of the now-iconic Michael Scott, the rude, yet sensitive, often inappropriate regional manager of the Scranton branch of the Dunder Mifflin paper company.
He went home empty-handed every year, losing first to Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”) in 2006, then in the ultimate irony to “Office” creator Ricky Gervais (“Extras”) in 2007 before being bested by a pair of back-to-back champs — Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”; 2008, 2009) and Jim Parsons (“The Big Bang Theory”; 2010, 2011).
But could Carell now prevail in the Comedy Guest Actor race?
After all, guesting proved to be the Emmy charm for John Goodman who lost a record seven Comedy Actor bids for “Roseanne” from 1989 to 1995 before winning Guest Drama Actor for an apperance on “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” in 2007. Goodman tied the dubious achievement of Hal Linden who contended unsuccessfully for all seven full seasons of “Barney Miller” from 1976 to 1982. Linden has never been nominated for another primetime Emmy but has won three Daytime Emmys for hosting “FYI” in 1983 and 1984 and performing on the CBS after school special “The Writing on the Wall” in 1995.
The current frontrunner for Guest Comedy Actor this year is Justin Timberlake (“Saturday Night Live“), who has gone two-for-two in this category for the late-night laffer. Will Arnett (“30 Rock“) follows with 5/1 odds for a role that has reaped him four bids but no win. This high-profile appearance by Carell could shift the race in his favor.