Steve Carell has made a career out of playing pompous, know-nothing TV newsmen, first on ''The Daily Show,'' then in ''Bruce Almighty,'' and later this year opposite Will Ferrell in ''Anchorman.'' Now he's in talks to play another guy you wouldn't want to work with. Variety reports he's negotiating to star in the U.S. version of ''The Office,'' the British comedy that won two surprise Golden Globes earlier this week. (The show, which airs Fridays on this side of the pond on cable's BBC America, won Best Comedy Series and Best Actor in a Comedy Series for creator/star Ricky Gervais.)
Carell would play the Gervais role, a boss whose efforts to ingratiate himself with the frazzled underlings at his drab work place go horribly awry. Costarring in the show, which NBC will launch this fall, will be Rainn Wilson (who's apparently graduated from his internship at the Fisher mortuary in ''Six Feet Under''), Jenna Fischer, and John Kasinski. The show won't by a script-by-script remake of the British version, as NBC's failed ''Coupling'' was, and Carell's character will be named Michael Scott instead of David Brent. Already, Carell is experiencing some workplace difficulty; he's already committed to an NBC midseason replacement comedy, ''Come to Papa.'' But Variety reports that the network plans to work out that conflict -- hopefully not by the time-tested Brent/Scott methods.