It must have been a cruel summer for fans awaiting the new season of NBC comedy The Office. How else to explain the alarm that followed a New York Times article published days before last Thursday’s season premiere?
While discussing possibilities for product integration in a Sept. 17 Times profile, Office Executive Producer Ben Silverman remarked that "one of the show’s main characters, Jim, was going to be in a long-distance relationship with another character, Pam, 'so naturally they’re going to be text-messaging each other.'"
Blogs and message boards erupted with outrage over what many took to be a spoiler about the fate of Pam and Jim (Jenna Fischer and John Krasinski)—or what one blogger called "the best television romance of the decade."
Wrote another, "We have waited and wondered since [last season’s finale] ... and with just five days to go, boom!, they ruin the suspense."
As the season opener revealed, Pam has broken her engagement to the loutish Roy, and Jim has relocated to another office—developments that would seem to indicate that a "long-distance relationship" is in the offing.
Silverman declined to elaborate on his published comment or whether it could have been construed as a spoiler.
"We have rabid fans who love our show and hang on every word," he says. "It’s fantastic they’re so engaged by the show, and we love that they care so much about it."