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OTRC: Steve Carell to leave 'The Office' before end of season

Steve Carell appears in a scene from the NBC series 'The Office.' (Chris Haston / NBC)

Steve Carell is set to leave "The Office" before the end of the current seventh season.

NBC has not commented. Carell has played egotistical boss Michael Scott on the comedy series, a U.S. adaptation of Ricky Gervais' British show, since it began in 2005.

He said last year that he planned to leave "The Office" at the end of the 2010-2011 season.

Executive producer Greg Daniels said Carell will be gone before the season-ending episodes in May, the Associated Press reported.

Carell will depart the show with four episodes left to go, Hitfix.com quoted Paul Lieberstein, an executive producer of the series who also plays Toby Flenderson, as saying.

Carell has said "The Office" will be able to continue to be successful without him and hopes his character ends up happy.

He says he is leaving to spend more time with his family. Carell and his wife Nancy have a young son and daughter.

The actor, whose movie career took off after the success of the hit 2005 comedy film "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," had in 2008 signed a three-year contract extension to play Scott on "The Office."

Carell has been nominated for an Emmy five times for his role and received a nod for a Golden Globe for the upcoming ceremony on Sunday, which is hosted by Gervais. Carell, who has won a Golden Globe before, is up against Alec Baldwin of "30 Rock," Thomas Jane of "Hung," Matthew Morrison of "Glee" and Jim Parsons of "The Big Bang Theory."

"The Office" has won a total of four Emmys and has been nominated for a Golden Globe nine times.