While NBC's The Office has always been a favorite with critics and Emmy voters, it has never been a big hit with viewers. (Last week it ranked No. 28 on the Nielsen ratings chart.) Hoping to lift the show's numbers during the final weeks of the season as Steve Carrell departs and a new series star is revealed, NBC has signed up Will Ferrell to play a branch manager of the fictional company Dunder Mifflin, who will presumably oversee the changeover. NBC said only that Ferrell would appear in a story "arc" and did not indicate how many episodes that would entail. In a lighthearted statement, Office producer Paul Lieberstein said, "We found Steve Carell when he was nothing but a movie star and we turned him into a television star. We are proud to continue The Office 's tradition of discovering famous talent, and we hope that once America gets a good look at Will, they'll see what we see tremendous raw sexuality."