NBCs The office was rescued from cancellation in its second season by a random collaboration with Apple.
A fifth generation iPod took a lead role in an episode of the comedy series, and it helped make reruns of the show sell well on iTunes. And the rest is history.
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How to save Apple, iTunes and iPod The office
Welcome to Dunder Mifflin tells the background story of the production of The office. Mashable took a deep dive into the recently released book and found that Apple played a surprisingly large role in keeping the show afloat in 2005.
The series was close to being canceled when the episode “Christmas Party” aired. It’s about the unrest that results from Michael Scott (Steve Carell) mixing a new iPod video into the company’s Secret Santa exchange.
The first iPod to play video debuted in October 2005. Shortly thereafter, Apple began offering videos through iTunes.
“That year, everyone got 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 you saw was The office and the Christmas episode, ”said Mike Schur, who wrote the episode. “It was the number one show on iTunes for 30 days in a row. So everyone spends the whole break watching that episode and then other episodes of the show.”
Not a paid product placement
Apple did not pay to include the iPod in the episode. But the Mac manufacturer eventually provided free computers for the kit. And it announced during the show.
Someone in the company was apparently a big fan. IN Welcome to Dunder MifflinBrian Baumgartner (who played Kevin Malone) remembers going into an Apple Store and seeing posters for The office.
The series’ popularity on iTunes convinced NBC to keep the show on air. “We became a hit because of iTunes, and we’re being discovered by a new generation today thanks to streaming services like Netflix,” Baumgartner said.