When The Office returns to NBC in the fall, employees at Dunder Mifflin are going to be working under a new CEO: James Spader. Producers from the show confirmed today that Spader would be joining the cast for the show's upcoming eighth season. From the sound of things, he won't exactly be replacing star Steve Carell, who wrapped up his role as Michael Scott at the end of season seven to devote more attention to his film career.
“James will reprise his role as Robert California, this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior,” executive producer and cast member Paul Lieberstein told Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd. “He’ll have been hired over the summer as the new manager, but within hours, got himself promoted. Within days, he took over the company. James has an energy that is completely his own, and The Office has no tools for dealing with this guy. We’re thrilled he’s joining our cast.”
NBC has been running a year-long guessing game about who will replace Carell. Spader's casting doesn't finish any of the mysteries, but it does mean the show will "say goodbye to recurring performer Kathy Bates," reports Hibberd. "Bates played the company’s CEO last season, though Spader’s character is expected to have a greater presence on the show."