Chris Haston/NBCU; NBCU Photo Bank
In the latest episode of her Office Ladies podcast, the 47-year-old actress said that she was fired after shooting a pilot for Man with a Plan because test audiences closely associated herself and Matt LeBlanc with their respective characters on The Office and Friends and didn’t “believe Pam would marry Joey.”
Fischer, who played Pam Beesly on The Office for nine seasons until the workplace comedy’s end in 2013, recalled that network executives initially wanted “more scenes” with her when she was cast as LeBlanc’s onscreen wife, but had a change of heart after showing the pilot episode to a focus group.
“They said — this is a literal quote, they said, ‘I don’t believe Pam would marry Joey. The chemistry doesn’t work between these two,'” Fischer told her Office Ladies co-host Angela Kinsey. “That was the feedback they got.”
“They could only see you as Pam and Joey?” asked Kinsey, who played Angela Martin on The Office.
“Yeah,” Fischer replied. “So it wasn’t working for them that we got married and had a family.”
Craig Barritt/Getty Jenna Fischer
According to Fischer, she learned that the show was moving on without her just days before she was was set to go to New York for upfronts.
“The first thing I said was, ‘Is [Man with a Plan] not getting picked up?'” Fischer remembered asking after receiving a call from her reps. “And they said, ‘It’s worse than that, hun.’ And I was like, ‘What’s worse than that?’ They said, ‘It’s getting picked up, but without you.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, I guess I’ll unpack my suitcase.'”
Man with a Plan ran for four seasons from 2016 to 2020 on CBS, with Liza Snyder starring opposite of LeBlanc.
While The Office ended more than eight years ago, the NBC series has continued to enthrall fans around the world.
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Last year, Fischer admitted during an appearance on An Oral History of The Office podcast that she still has a hard time explaining to fans that she and John Krasinski — who played her character’s love interest Jim on the show — are just former on-screen lovers, as she feels like she’s shattering the illusion of the series.
“People don’t know how John and I are not a couple in real life,” she explained. “They don’t understand it.”
“I don’t know how to explain it, because it’s a little bit like telling kids there’s no Santa,” she added.