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What Everyone Is Talking About Today

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- If only David Brent could have had this kind of luck. Ricky Gervais, who created and played Brent, the socially awkward paper-company office manager with dreams of a singing career in his hit show “The Office,” is having a heck of a week. Not only has he been commissioned to write an episode of the U.S. version of “The Office,” and wrote and starred in an episode of “The Simpsons,” he also found out he’s to be included in Guinness World Records for having the world’s most downloaded podcast.
Gervais is on fire! No. 1 podcast! Guest starring on 'The Simpsons'! And now a Guinness World Records record holder.

Gervais’ weekly podcast show features writing partner Stephen Merchant and sidekick Karl Pilkington. It averaged 261,670 downloads a week during its first month, according to the U.K.’s Guardian. The podcast can be found on the Guardian Unlimited Web site and is currently on episode 10 of a 12-week run. As long as no other podcast tops it by the time Guinness publishes its 2007 edition in the fall, Gervais can boast of his status alongside the likes of the tallest man and the person who can eat the most doughnuts.

Speaking of doughnuts, Gervais will also find himself drawn as a cartoon character, starring alongside Homer Simpson. Gervais wrote an episode in which he plays a David Brent-type character, who moves into the Simpson household to live with Marge Simpson during an episode of “Wife Swap,” while Homer goes to live with his wife.

After the U.K. “Office” ended, Gervais launched a new show, “Extras,” for the BBC about an actor trying desperately to break out of his lot of only landing day parts. That production is in the midst of readying its second season, and reports out today say Gervais is approaching Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Madonna to guest star.

The DVD of Gervais’ “Office” has earned cult status in the U.S., so fans are likely to be excited that Gervais and Merchant agreed to write an episode for NBC for next season. NBC has given the U.S. version of “The Office” time to find its audience, renewing it despite a low-rated debut season. But thanks to the rising star status of Steve Carell, who plays Michael Scott, the insecure boss at a paper company in Scranton, Pa., the show has increased ratings nearly 70% since the start of this year. (Carell got kudos last year for his starring role in the movie “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.”) NBC also believes making “The Office” available for download to iPods helped increase its audience. So Gervais and iPods, all around perfect together.

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