Paul Lieberstein

Paul Lieberstein

Lieberstein in 2008
Born (1967-02-22) February 22, 1967
Westport, Connecticut, U.S.
Occupation Screenwriter
Television producer
Nationality American
Citizenship American
Period 1994–present
Genre Situation comedy
Spouse Janine Serafin Poreba (2008–present)
Children 5
Relatives Susanne Daniels (sister)
Warren Lieberstein (brother)
Greg Daniels (in-law)

Paul Bevan Lieberstein (born February 22, 1967) is an American screenwriter, actor and television producer. A Primetime Emmy Award winner, he is known as a writer, producer, and as supporting cast member Toby Flenderson on the U.S. version of the sitcom The Office. He served as the series' showrunner from seasons five to eight. On March 22, 2012, it was announced that Lieberstein would step down from his showrunner role to focus on a planned spin-off series featuring Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute, which was tentatively called The Farm[1] and Lieberstein was set to be the showrunner.[2] However, in October 2012, it was announced that NBC was not accepting the spin-off series.[3] Lieberstein also worked as producer on the third and final season of the television drama series The Newsroom.[4]

Early life and background

Lieberstein grew up in Westport, Connecticut,[5] the son of Judith and Stanley Lieberstein.[6] He attended Staples High School. Afterwards, he attended Hamilton College, where he joined Chi Psi, and graduated in 1989[7] with a major in economics[7] (he "wanted to be a financier of some kind").[5] An interesting footnote is that Lieberstein wrote into the storyline of several episodes references to the fact that Andy Bernard was a Chi Psi from Cornell. Making the effete Andy Bernard a Chi Psi from Cornell was intentional and reflects a good natured "dig" at Cornell by a Chi Psi alum. His first job after graduation was as an auditor at Peat Marwick International, a job that only lasted six months.[7] He followed that with part-time work in his father's law firm, "working as little as [he] could so [he] could write."[7]

His sister Susanne is the president of programming at MTV and is married to Greg Daniels.[5] His brother, Warren Lieberstein, was married to Angela Kinsey. Lieberstein was married for a second time, to Janine Serafin Poreba, on July 19, 2008, at the New York City restaurant Battery Gardens.[6] His cousin is Paul Faust, on whom the character "Cool Guy Paul" was based, as seen in The Office episode "Chair Model".

Dual cast-and-crew role

In a SuicideGirls interview, Lieberstein noted that "as an actor, which is just a very small percentage of me, I don’t feel Toby while I’m writing. It’s the hardest of the characters to access."[5] In an interview for his alma mater, Hamilton College, Lieberstein commented on the bigger picture:[7]

When we are in pre-production, this is the best job in the world. Working 10 to 7, sitting around and brainstorming with the other writers, making things funnier and writing and rewriting scenes—that's as fun as it gets. Adding acting on top of all that makes for incredibly long, grueling days, sometimes 6 to midnight. But acting has its own rewards. Comedy becomes intensified in short scenes. Doing a scene with Steve Carell, trying to keep up with him, is as tough and fun and weird as any part of the process.

On June 12, 2008, Variety magazine reported that he would become one of the executive producers of The Office.[8]


Lieberstein's first Emmy Award was as a producer, sharing a 1999 Emmy for "Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming One Hour or Less)" for his work on King of the Hill.

Lieberstein's work on The Office has resulted in numerous awards. In June 2007, Lieberstein shared in a Daytime Emmy Award for "Outstanding Broadband Program – Comedy", for his work on The Office: Accountants webisodes.[9] As an actor, Lieberstein shared in a 2006 Screen Actors Guild Award for "Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series"; as a writer, he shared a 2006 Writers Guild of America Award for the series, in addition to a WGA Award nomination for "The Coup". As co-executive producer, he shared a 2006 Emmy Award for "Outstanding Comedy Series".

Lieberstein received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts degree from Hamilton College on May 22, 2011.[10]




King of the Hill

  1. "Luanne's Saga" (February 16, 1997) – Season 1
  2. "How to Fire a Rifle Without Really Trying" (September 21, 1997) – Season 2
  3. "The Unbearable Blindness of Laying" (December 21, 1997) – Season 2
  4. "I Remember Mono" (February 8, 1998) – Season 2
  5. "Pretty, Pretty Dresses" (December 15, 1998) – Season 3
  6. "De-Kahnstructing Henry" (February 2, 1999) – Season 3
  7. "Peggy Hill: The Decline and Fall" (September 26, 1999) – Season 4
  8. "Not in My Back-hoe" (November 28, 1999) – Season 4
  9. "Bill of Sales" (March 12, 2000) – Season 4
  10. "I Don't Want to Wait for Our Lives to Be Over..." (November 12, 2000) – Season 5
  11. "Spin the Choice" (November 19, 2000) – Season 5

The Office

  1. "Health Care" (April 5, 2005) – Season 1
  2. "The Client" (November 8, 2005) – Season 2
  3. "The Carpet" (January 26, 2006) – Season 2
  4. "Dwight's Speech" (March 2, 2006) – Season 2
  5. "The Coup" (October 5, 2006) – Season 3
  6. "Cocktails" (February 22, 2007) – Season 3
  7. "The Job" along with Michael Schur (May 17, 2007) – Season 3
  8. "Money" (October 18, 2007) – Season 4
  9. "Goodbye, Toby" along with Jennifer Celotta (May 15, 2008) – Season 4
  10. "Stress Relief" (February 1, 2009) – Season 5
  11. "Company Picnic" along with Jennifer Celotta (May 14, 2009) – Season 5
  12. "Gossip" (September 17, 2009) – Season 6
  13. "Sex Ed" (October 14, 2010) – Season 7
  14. "Search Committee" (May 19, 2011) - Season 7
  15. "The Incentive" (September 29, 2011) - Season 8
  16. "The Farm" (March 14, 2013) - Season 9


The Office

  1. "Money" (October 18, 2007) – Season 4
  2. "Two Weeks" (March 26, 2009) – Season 5
  3. "Gossip" (September 17, 2009) – Season 6
  4. "Whistleblower" (May 20, 2010) – Season 6
  5. "Sex Ed" (October 14, 2010) – Season 7
  6. "Training Day" (April 14, 2011) – Season 7
  7. "The Farm" (March 14, 2013) - Season 9

The Newsroom

  1. "Oh Shenandoah" (December 7, 2014) – Season 3


  1. Poniewozik, James. "Back to the Land: NBC's The Farm Spinoff Failed, But Networks Shouldn't Abandon the Country". Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  2. Itzkoff, Dave (March 22, 2012). "Producer's Exit Adds to Uncertainty at 'The Office'". Retrieved October 31, 2012.
  3. Itzkoff, Dave (October 30, 2012). "NBC Is Not Moving Ahead With 'Office' Spinoff 'The Farm'".
  4. Rose, Lacey (January 13, 2014). "Aaron Sorkin's 'Newsroom' Renewed for Third and Final Season". Retrieved November 18, 2014.
  5. 1 2 3 4 2006 interview with Paul Lieberstein by Daniel Robert Epstein, at the SuicideGirls website
  6. 1 2 New York Times New York Times Wedding Announcement
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Roll Credits, a profile of Lieberstein from the Hamilton College website
  8. Aziz Ansari hired for 'Office' spinoff, a June 12, 2008 article from Variety magazine
  9. 34th Annual Creative Arts & Entertainment Emmy Awards, from the Emmy Awards website
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