Image Credit: Albert L. Ortega/PR Photos; Robert Prezioso/Getty ImagesThe Office‘s short list of possible replacements for Steve Carell just got a little longer.

Sources confirm to me exclusively that producers of the NBC hitcom have quietly reached out to rising comic-actors Danny McBride (the breakout star of HBO’s hilarious Eastbound & Down) and Rhys Darby (late of HBO’s Flight of the Conchords) to gauge their interest in joining the cast later this season.

Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein confirms that they’re “having discussions” about introducing a new salesman into Dunder Mifflin’s Scranton branch, but he wouldn’t say whether this person was being groomed to necessarily replace Carell’s Michael Scott. “We haven’t settled exactly who will take over,” says Lieberstein, adding that promoting a current staffer to the top job remains a viable option as well. (Coexecutive producer Mindy Kaling recently endorsed Rainn Wilson’s Dwight for the gig.)

Recruiting McBride could prove difficult considering that HBO just renewed Eastbound & Down for a second season. “Danny is very happy on Eastbound & Down,” confirms his spokesperson.

Darby, on the other hand, is a free agent now that HBO has grounded Conchords. Reps for the New Zealand-born funnyman were unavailable for comment.

Thoughts? Can you see McBride or Darby calling the shots on The Office? Sound off below!

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