Former stars of The Office reveal which song apparently cost the show $40,000 dollars to use in the classic season 5 episode “Cafe Disco.”
The Office star Jenna Fischer has revealed that the producers paid $40,000 for the rights to one song featured in an episode. The Office ran for nine seasons on NBC and popularized mockumentary comedy on US television, a format that parodies that typical documentary movie style. It was based on the original UK The Office series, co-created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Along with Fischer, The Office US starred Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, BJ Novak, Mindy Kaling and Ed Helms.
With a plot based on the original British series, The Office follows the days of the titular Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, where regional manager Michael Scott (Carrell) and his many attempts to appear likable and funny often backfire into over-the-top misunderstandings and shenanigans. The series received critical acclaim through its run and has achieved a large cult following due to its long-term availability on Netflix (the show now exclusively streams on Peacock), and still has many die-hard fans. Supporting star Leslie David Baker has also recently announced a Kickstarter to produce a The Office spinoff show about his character, Stanley, titled Uncle Stan.
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According to the podcast Office Ladies (via Mashable), from former stars Fischer and Angela Kinsey, the show spent an impressive amount of money on one particular scene. The scene in question comes from the The Office season 5 episode “Disco Cafe,” in which Michael starts a disco in Dunder Mifflin’s buildinge. To get his workers to come down, he plays “Everybody Dance Now” by C+C Music Factory, a song that apparently cost a massive $40,000 to include in the episode, according to Fischer. The song is also featured in the following scene where Helm’s Andy and Kaling’s Kelly get into a competitive dance-off. Other songs that feature in the episode include “Car Wash” by Rose Royce and “Y.M.C.A.” by the Village People.
The shocking $40,000 price tag for “Everybody Dance Now” is even more impressive when considering the fact that the budget for the whole episode was reportedly only $85,200. Given that, it seems the iconic scene cost The Office episode nearly half its entire pot. Fischer explained that the show’s post-production supervisor felt it was essential that the cast could “sing along or hum along” as they were dancing, which required a more expensive version of the music rights. The huge price tag paid off, however, since “Cafe Disco” has been hailed as one of the all-time best The Office episodes, which is largely down to this fun sequence.
The show’s success was predicted by few, with many thinking The Office would fail quickly as a lesser version of the UK original. Instead, it launched the career of Carrell and many of his co-stars, with Krasinski and Helms now big Hollywood actors. One of the most acclaimed comedies of its time, The Office has served as inspiration for all the mockumentary shows that followed it, including Parks and Recreation and Modern Family. The extreme care taken by the production team (not to mention the impressive sums of money) to make The Office so memorable and funny is just one of the reasons it continues to delight fans after eight years off the air.
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