iPod Saves The Office

For fans of The Office (a show I'm just now watching for the first time), there's a great interview with Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey. Appearing on Seth Meyer's talkshow, the duo from our favorite paper company talks about how the show was saved by an unsuspecting device.

The episode from 2005 revolves around an iPod as a Secret Santa gift. Apple shortly thereafter announces its 5th generation iPod, which can now play video. Part of this enhancement was a new offering to sell individual episodes of TV shows on the iTunes Store. Sure enough, The Office was one of those shows and was included in Apple's promotions.

The Office is the American version of the Ricky Gervais show that aired in the UK. That show was equally as cringe and even more so, given how Gervais played the boss. Season 1 of the US version is nearly a carbon copy of the UK version. Here in the States the show was on the bubble with NBC ordering episodes in small batches. Then the season two Christmas episode changed everything. The rest was history. Here's more from Michael Shur, head writer on the show.

"That year [2005], everyone got everyone a video iPod for Christmas. And when you got a video iPod and set it up and went to the iTunes Store, the first thing that you saw was The Office and the Christmas episode. It was the number one watched thing on iTunes for 30 consecutive days. So everyone spends the entire break watching that episode and then other episodes of the show," Schur said.


It's a fascinating tale of how a traditional TV show went viral before viral videos were a thing. There was no YouTube, TikTok, streaming, or any other online presence to push a show forward in 2005. The iPod inadvertently saved The Office and made a big difference for the show. At any other time, the show could've easily crashed and burned while then being relegated to the cancelation bin. Instead, it lives on as a cult classic.

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