In the network's first acknowledgment of Carell's plans, NBC prime-time entertainment president Angela Bromstad said the actor's seven-year run as boss Michael Scott will end when his contract expires in 2011.
Bromstad says it's not unusual for a "major movie star" to leave a series, and added that "The Office" is strong enough to weather the change.
Carell first mentioned the possibility of leaving the sitcom in an April radio interview. Bromstad said the door was open for Carell's occasional return appearances as Michael. His new film is this week's "Dinner for Schmucks."