NEW YORK - Fans have been waiting for a sequel to 2004's "Anchorman" for years so there was a great deal of excitement this Spring when Will Ferrell appeared as Ron Burgandy on "Conan" to announce a sequel was finally on the way.  Studio Paramount Pictures, which now controls the rights to the franchise, even went so far as to have the principal cast shoot an original teaser trailer for "Anchorman 2" which appeared in front of "The Dictator" last month.  It was public knowledge that Will Ferrell and director Adam McKay were still working on a screenplay for "Anchorman 2," but it was expected the film would shoot sometime this summer in anticipation of a release one year later.  That won't be the case. 

Speaking to Steve Carell today during an interview about his new movie "Seeking a Friend at the End of the World," the Golden Globe winner admitted that one of the reasons the movie even came into being is because his schedule is much more open now that he's no longer on NBC's "The Office."

"It definitely helped me out. All of these planets had to align in terms of Will's availability and Paul [Rudd's] and Dave [Koechner's]," Carell says.  "So, the fact that I'm not on the show anymore that definitely in our favor."

Carell then adds, "I think we're going to be shooting it in February or March, so, we're doing it.  It's gonna be fun.  I can't wait."

Comedies usually don't require as much post-production work as CG-intensive action films, but that's cutting it close for even a prime August slot that summer.  This late production date may be one reason "Anchorman 2" is still only dated as "2013" by Paramount.  It is also likely that's why Christina Applegate was finally able to announce she could return for the sequel.  Assuming it gets picked up for a full season order, Applegate should be finished with her commitments to NBC's "Up All Night" early into "Anchorman 2's" shooting schedule.

The role of moronic weatherman Brick Tamland was one of Carell's big movie breaks after he made a name for himself on Comedy Central's "The Daily Show."  Carell is expected to shoot Charlie Kaufman's "Frank or Francis" and Nat Faxon/Jim Rash's directorial debut, "The Way, Way Back" before the "Anchorman" sequel.