Everybody stay calm! Stay f–king calm! No, really, stay calm. The Office is leaving Netflix in 2021, but it isn’t disappearing entirely. The show will move to NBCUniversal’s new streaming service at that time.
Netflix reportedly offered $90 million per year to keep The Office—that’s $10 million a year for every season, comparable to what it paid to keep Friends through 2019. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Hulu, Amazon, and Apple were all at least considering placing bids as well. Ultimately, NBCUniversal won the auction.
That may sound a little confusing: The Office originally aired on NBC, so why would the network have to bid on its own show rather than just let the contract with Netflix expire? But The Office was co-produced by outside companies, including that of Greg Daniels, who adapted the show for American television, so NBCUniversal had to pay a reported $100 million per year to secure the streaming rights in the U.S., which it will now retain from 2021 until 2026. Judging by a press release announcing NBCUniversal’s triumph, the show is apparently well worth what they paid for it because viewers spent 52 billion minutes streaming The Office in 2018 alone.
Again, there is no need to panic over this news. (See below for an example of what not to do.) However, there is plenty of reason to be Stanley Hudson levels of cranky about it, chiefly because NBCUniversal’s streaming platform will have ads, whereas Netflix does not. It also means that if you want to continue to be able to stream The Office, you’ll have to pay up for yet another service, this one reportedly around $10 per month. (You could also just buy a digital copy, or stream it via a form of technology reportedly called “a DVD.”)
If you’ve been meaning to get around to watching The Office but aren’t sure where to begin, you have plenty of time before it leaves Netflix. Consider skipping Season 1 and starting here instead.