(Cue the drum roll) -- Paul Rudd.
At least, that's what the "Dinner for Schmucks" co-stars would like you to believe. In an interview with ABC News Now's "Popcorn With Peter Travers," Carell and Rudd riffed on the future of the sitcom, in which Carell plays Michael Scott.
"I know that Paul is jockeying for that role," Carell said.
Rudd: "What tipped you off?"
Carell: "When you said, 'Boy, I'd love to play that part.' You're going to take over and your character will be called Beardy."
Yeah, they were being facetious. Carell took every opportunity to make fun of Rudd's bush of a beard (Carell: "it smells like a bird"), which Rudd is wearing while shooting the indie movie "My Idiot Brother."
But Carell copped a more serious tone when asked if Ricky Gervais, who created the original U.K. version of "The Office" and played Michael Scott's counterpart, David Brent, might replace him on the NBC show.
"Ricky Gervais? There's no way," Carell said. "He doesn't want to do that at all. He sent me a nice e-mail when I announced I was leaving. He's really sweet."
Indeed, Gervais backed up Carell when he announced in late June that the upcoming seventh season of "The Office," beginning this September, will be his last.
"It was expected of me, as executive producer, to persuade him to stay on," Gervais wrote on his official website earlier this month. "With syndication in full swing the more successful the show remains, the more billions we all make. It was tempting, but the truth is, I believe he is doing the right thing."
"I'd be lying if I said he should do more. He shouldn't. He should move on, continue to do great work, and buy a new house every time 'The Office' is repeated somewhere," Gervais quipped. "(That's what I do. Maybe I'll buy one next door to him one day. That'll f**king teach him.)"
Steve Carell, Paul Rudd and 'The Office'
Gervais said Carell's got bigger fish to fry now, calling him "a huge film star." "Dinner for Schmucks," out July 30, is Carell's latest project, in which he plays a diorama-obsessed buffoon who Rudd's character brings to his boss's monthly gathering of idiots. It's also his third film this year, coming on the heels of "Despicable Me" and "Date Night."
But Carell said his big screen ambitions haven't turned off his small screen family. Asked if his "Office" cast mates want him to leave, he shook his head the way Michael Scott might if forced to table his tradition of Dunder Mifflin birthday parties.
"No," Carell said. "No, they love me. Everybody loves me."