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Steve Carell is leaving NBC. Is Emmy nominee Alec Baldwin next?

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NBC and The Office fans everywhere fielded a blow last week when Steve Carell confirmed he’ll be leaving the comedy after the completion of season 7 in May 2011. This week, it seems another leading man from the network might be following in Carell’s footsteps: 30 Rock‘s Alec Baldwin. “As much as I like acting,” a seemingly sad and sincere Emmy nominee told CNN‘s Alina Cho earlier this week (see clip embedded after the jump), “I know that I would love to have a different life. A private life. I think that doing this now for a living has become really, really hard. I would rather go do other things, and [with] whatever amount of time I have left in my life, have a normal life.” Of course, Baldwin leaving the comedy after his contract expires in 2012 isn’t exactly news — last summer in a Playboy interview, when asked how long he’d stay with 30 Rock he responded, “I’ve got three more years to go.” Yet, is it wrong that we’re still holding out hope, considering the fact that Baldwin insisted he wanted to leave the show all the way back in 2008 — and clearly didn’t? (Sure, it was probably because he couldn’t get out of his contract, but still.)

What do you think Baldwin will do after next season? Will you still watch the show if he leaves? And can you imagine a Thursday night without Carell and Baldwin? [Examiner]