It’s been seven years since the U.S. version of The Office aired its final episode. But the passing of time has done nothing to stifle fans’ adoration of the series and its characters. Plus, new generations of fans have discovered the show through streaming, finding it as relatable as diehard fans did when the series launched in 2005. Now, for the first time ever, a new podcast is here to give fans the behind-the-scenes details they’ve been craving from the people who know it best—the creative team in front of and behind the camera.
An Oral History of The Office, created by Propagate Content and available exclusively on Spotify, digs into what it was that made the show so successful. “We hope the podcast gives the fans a deeper understanding of the business behind the creativity, while also providing access to their favorite actors, writers, and producers in a way they haven’t had before,” explains Ben Silverman, an executive producer of The Office and Chairman and Co-CEO of Propagate Content. “People have now watched the episodes multiple times and they want to understand the architecture of the show because it is so layered and profound. There are many new things to uncover each time you watch it.”
Fans will be excited to learn that the podcast is hosted and executive produced by none other than Brian Baumgartner, the actor who plays accountant and chili master Kevin Malone. And while Kevin is known for his dry words and slow delivery, Brian is a man of total and complete focus when it comes to making a podcast fans will love. We caught up with Brian to learn all about the new podcast and why he’s the best cast member to give us all the details.
Why should fans of The Office get excited for this podcast?
It’s not really what you would think of as a traditional podcast. Nothing like this has ever been done for a television show before. We interviewed more than 40 people, have over a hundred hours of collective material, and the story that you hear is really an assemblage of all the creative voices that worked on the show from the very beginning.
And the format of the podcast is quite different, but it really tells a cohesive story, from how Ben Silverman got the rights from Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant in England, to how difficult it was to find an audience for us in the beginning, to how we became one of the most successful shows on television. For example, I interviewed Billie Eilish, who’s watched the entire series so many times that the number is in the double digits.
What was your process for preparing to talk about the show? Some of this was filmed more than 15 years ago!
I sort of outlined the things that were important to me, the things that I could remember. And I picked out the people to talk about certain sections or time frames when a person was there.
We ended up hearing stories that I had never heard. I mean, huge behind-the-scenes, life-changing moments for people—some in the crew, some of the writers. And that’s reflected in the stories we tell.
Why do you think you’re the perfect person to lead this oral history of the show?
There’s been a lot of discussion about why me? Why am I the one to tell the story? And I think there are a few reasons. There were only two cast members, Dwight and me, who were present on set and filmed every episode of the show. And I think part of that, and part of my positioning in The Office was, I was constantly watching.
The business of television intrigued me from the very beginning. I was compelled to tell the story because clearly the show resonates with fans, but I feel like what happened behind the scenes was equally as special, in terms of the people that were assembled. We were this sort of ragtag band of what a lot of people would consider losers, who came together to create this show. We didn’t really look like characters that existed on primetime television at the time. Our show really broke the mold.
And this is all because of the people that were involved, and the incredibly smart decisions that were made from the very beginning. That’s why I’m talking about this today. That’s why people care today. That’s why when I post something with me and chili online, people respond to it. It’s become so resonant on a global cultural scale. That’s fascinating to me and hopefully it will be to other people as well.