Cross another one off the list. Brian Baumgartner, who plays the slow-witted accountant Kevin on The Office, is the fourth cast member of the long-running NBC comedy to set up a television project when the series wraps up at the end of this season.
Landing at ABC, the untitled single-camera comedy will star Baumgartner as a mid-level airline executive named Norman who feels he must fight to experience winning again at anything. The project will be executive produced by Office developer/exec producer Greg Daniels and written by Harris Wittels, a supervising producer on Daniels' other NBC series Parks And Recreation.
After a handful of bit roles on television, Baumgartner joined NBC's American adaptation of The Office for the pilot episode in 2005. Although he originally auditioned for the role of Stanley that ultimately went to Leslie David Baker, Baumgartner ended up playing Dunder Mifflin accountant Kevin Malone, a character that has been mistaken as mentally disabled in past episodes. Since then, Baumgartner has appeared in feature films including 2007's License To Wed, which starred fellow Office castmate John Krasinski.
Over the past couple of months, three other Office co-stars have landed television projects. Rainn Wilson has an Office spinoff entitled The Farm set up at NBC, and Craig Robinson will star in an untitled NBC comedy as well. Another member of Dunder Mifflin's accounting squad, Angela Kinsey, received a put pilot commitment from FOX for a comedy called Dirty Blondes co-starring Rachael Harris.
While the logline for this new project sounds somewhat vague, I expect this character will be a big departure from the loveable doofus he plays on The Office. Brian Baumgartner has been stuck playing this one-dimensional character for long enough, so it will be interesting to see him stretching his wings, so to speak. Will audiences be able to forget Kevin and accept him in a completely different role?