Every fan of The Office (writer, 18 episodes: Caroline Williams) knows that there was no one Michael Scott hated more than Toby Flenderson (played by Paul Lieberstein), the meek head of HR who Michael regarded as the ultimate kill-joy and fun-sucker. There was no one audiences loved to hate (and sometimes pity) more than Toby. But where is Office actor Paul Lieberstein now, and will he make a return to Scranton?
Now that it's been hinted that there will be an Office revival, fans are hoping that Dunder Mifflin's most universally scorned employee will be back for the newest installment of the series. But the actor, director, writer and producer has been busy since The Office (editing, 28 episodes: Claire Scanlon) wrapped. Because Lieberstein certainly isn't as boring as the character he portrayed. Not only did he star on the show as Toby, Lieberstein was also an executive producer and writer on the The Office, and he has since taken his talents to other series.
He served as executive producer for six episodes of The Newsroom on HBO, and directed a few episodes of Office co-star Mindy Kaling's The Mindy Project. Lieberstein is also about to make his big-screen directorial debut as the producer, writer and director of the comedy film Song Of Back And Neck, starring Rosemarie DeWitt. And he hasn't totally left his acting career behind, starring as The Assessor on People Of Earth, a show by Office creator Greg Daniels. Clearly Lieberstein is doing something right that poor Toby was doing wrong.
More recently, Lieberstein has been tapped as the new showrunner and executive producer of the next six episodes of the new comedy series Ghosted, which stars another old Office co-star, Craig Robinson, who played warehouse-turned-office-employee Daryl. Since Michael Scott tried as hard as he could to win Daryl's love and respect, he would be furious to know that his ultimate foe is reuniting with Daryl on another show.
Though it's exciting that old co-stars are collaborating on another comedy project, their new show might make it more unlikely that fans could see the return of Daryl and Toby in the Office revival. If they are busy making new episodes of Ghosted, it might be hard for Lieberstein and Robinson to also star in the potential Office reboot.
But Toby fans! Do not despair, there could still be hope that Lieberstein will head back to Scranton to reprise his role as everyone's favorite wet blanket. IndieWire reports that not only has Lieberstein had a long history of working with Office creator Greg Daniels, but he is also Daniels' brother-in-law. This connection means that Daniels might very well rope Lieberstein back into the project. IndieWire predicts that there is a 76.7% chance that Toby will once again grace our screens, and while that seems like a suspiciously specific number, let's not question it.
Unfortunately for us (though probably fortunately for Toby Flenderson), even if Lieberstein does return, he probably won't be facing off against Toby's biggest hater, Michael Scott. The Hollywood Reporter claims that sources reveal Steve Carrell will not be returning for a reboot, which makes sense considering he left before the show had even finished its run.
But that doesn't mean the reboot wouldn't feature some of the characters fans know and love. Since there was briefly the possibility of a Dwight Schrute spin-off series in 2013, called The Farm, that never came to fruition, it seems likely that sans Michael and Jim and Pam, an Office reboot would center around Dwight in some way.
But whatever form the reboot might take, let's hope that Lieberstein is among those returning, because it just wouldn't be The Office without Scranton's most hated employee.