Done deal! James Spader joins 'The Office'

James-Spader

Image Credit: Getty Images

It’s official: The employees of Dunder Mifflin are getting a new CEO and his name is Robert California.

James Spader’s ultra-confident and sexually charged character featured briefly in the NBC hit’s May finale is set to join the cast of the show’s upcoming eighth season, NBC confirmed.

“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,” said Paul Lieberstein, one of the series’ executive producers and a series regular. “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 is set to announce the hire, adding a new well-known actor to the ensemble series that saw the departure of its biggest star, Steve Carell, this season, and will also say goodbye to recurring performer Kathy Bates as well. Bates played the company’s CEO last season, though Spader’s character is expected to have a greater presence on the show. EW first broke the news of Spader in talks for the part a CEO role week ago. Full character details and Spader’s video clip from the finale here.

Read more:
James Spader in talks to join ‘The Office’ — EXCLUSIVE
‘The Office’: Who would you hire?
26 Great TV Season Finales

Comments (195 total) Add your comment
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  • kyle

    so wait he’s not replacing Michael?? and his name is Robert California? could of came up with a better name. I like the hire but I will miss Bates, she was good as the CEO

    • Kate

      Wow! Terrific. They were lucky to get him. I look forward to the new season now when I didn’t before. This can mean new levels of funny/weirdness with Spader.

      • Lily

        x2 Hooray! GREAT call. Nobody does creepy like James Spader!!

      • wsugar

        I agree, Bad Actor and a Bad Show. What a waste of the airwaves.

      • Maggie

        wsugar who are you agreeing with?

      • Dear Rat Boy

        I agree with Wsugar, this is going to be a much needed adrenaline shot to a great show.

      • mrsitcom

        I agree with WSUGAR too. This show was perfect and it’s good to know it will continue to be perfect. Well said WSUGAR!

      • Tom

        The show -was- really really cool. Now? Meh

      • playjojo

        I agree fully, but will miss Kathy Bates. She was brilliant. I love the way she used to cut Michael down to size

      • asdfblah

        He was great and Im glad hes coming but him being CEO scares me into thinking Dwight will end up as manager which I think will be a disaster for the shows pecking order. It would ruin the show if Dwight ever got any sort of real power. Manager should be someone neutral, like Bernard/Jim/Pam so the main source of weirdness can come from the new CEO.

      • Steve

        Unbelievably, there’s now actually hope for “The Office”. Until Spader’s scene in the finale, there hadn’t been one decent laugh on the show in years.

    • Mike

      Well wouldn’t it be weird if his name was Robert California in this past May’s season finale and then just all of a sudden changed in the season premiere? They had already come up with the name…just sayin..

      • wsugar

        Like to Robert I can’t act, because he can’t. He is fat and not funny.

      • Donknottz

        Please tell me your not talking about Spader. He will be the most talented actor on TV once he comes back. The only reason he’s not now is because Boston Legal ended.

      • msplenda

        I agree with wsugar. James Spader is a great actor. He’s fit and hilarious. Well said!

    • Yahoo Facetious

      Heh. That is all.

      • MOn

        wsugar is awesome! I agree with everyone

      • Wsugar2

        I concur wsugar…In fact I changed my name to Wsugar2 because I am touched by your remarks

      • qman

        “He just might be a Genius!” – Jim Halpert

    • Chris

      He did not age well.

      • LOL

        Im sure he gets more tail than you, fatty.

    • EricLr

      If the show were smart, they would bring in Ricky Gervais as the new manager. Not only did he create the series and originate the role, but his David Brent is also hilarious (even funnier than Michael Scott). It would be a perfect way to end the run, with a nice little return to the beginning. Sadly, NBC will just go with some celeb-of-the-moment for the role and end the series at a all-time low point.

      • tnsmoke

        Most of us Office fans never saw the British original and don’t care, so Ricky Gervais holds no appeal to us. I have seen him on lots of shows and can’t understand half of what he says, his accent is too strong, no way he’d be hired for our version. Kudos to them hiring James Spader, he rocks!

      • Big Walt

        Considering Ricky is the executive producer I’m going to guess he doesn’t want to do that. There’s a reason the British Office only ran for two years. Gervais didn’t want to do any more.

      • teresa

        I agree with tnsmoke. I didn’t think Gicky was funny during his small bits on the show. But I really enjoyed Kathy Bates. They should keep her. She was funny.

    • LOL

      shut up, kyle.

    • Blern

      “Could of?”
      “Could have” is the phrase you’re looking for.

    • AB

      Diedrich Bader is going to play the role of manager.

      • Big Walt

        If that’s true that could work. He’s pretty funny and can play weird well.

  • ST

    This should be interesting… I wasn’t a huge fan of him replacing Michael but since he’s the CEO, i might like it.

  • Mr. Holloway

    I know his character was very polarizing in the season finale, but he was my favorite (along with Jim Carrey) of the prospective bosses and I thoroughly enjoyed the new, weird energy he brought to the office. (And I was mostly glad that it wasn’t another doofy Michael Scott-lite clone.)

    The problem is that if Spader is the CEO, this STILL doesn’t answer the question of who’s managing the Scranton branch of DM.

    • simps

      I think it is good that it has not answered the questions of who will be the manager of DM. It was annoying enough that that was not revealed in the season finale, I would be even more annoyed if we found out the answer through news of who NBC decides to hire rather than through the show’s plot itself.

      • Mr. Holloway

        Fair point.

        However, my main concern is that I can’t shake the feeling that Lieberstein and company don’t even know who’s gonna bethe Scranton’s branch’s manager. So they keep doing stuff like this (and the annoying season finale) to put off making a call.

        It’s sad, because this is one of my all-time favorite shows and I used to have an ironclad trust in its writers. I just don’t anymore.

      • Mr. Holloway

        *who’s gonna be the Scranton branch’s manager.

      • D’s Advocate

        I’ve had the sense that they’ve been determined to put Catherine Tate in the branch manager role from the get-go. Although I like her, I didn’t care for how her character was written in the finale, so I’m a bit mixed on that.

      • liz

        I’m totally psyched! I love James Spader and I love Catherine Tate. I gave up on the office last year, but this will absolutely bring me back.

      • officefan

        i think it is going to be an internal move. i figured it might be Pam based on the final episode.

    • iloveshowtime

      I really hope it’s Carrey “finger lakes, people get lost in the finger lakes you know” if not then the British girl “soooki” haha

    • Mike

      I heard Charlie Sheen landed the manager gig — anyone else seen that?

      • EricLr

        Sheen wins every role. Winning is what he does. It’s only a question of where *he* decides to go. The ball is always in Charlie’s court.

  • DGH

    I think this is gonna be the final nail in the coffin. The Office and I had a good thing going there for awhile but I must move on.

    • The Office

      I’ll miss you.

      • DGH

        It’s me not you!!!!

      • Tom

        The show had it’s moment. Kinda like Weeds did. But now, it’s over. Accept it gracefully and move on.

  • Ian

    Sounds like he’s the new David Wallace. Approved!

    • Mike

      Well, actually, David Wallace was the C”F”O (financial) of Dunder Mifflin. Spader is taking over the Kathy Bates of the past couple seasons.

  • LOL

    He was the best thing on the season finale. Why not bring him back? Seems like an easy choice.

  • Ben

    I wasn’t planning on watching any more but now I’m newly intrigued

  • Zach

    His name should be Alan Shore and he should be heading the Office with his husband Denny Crane!

    • Nabob

      Agreed!!!

      • Donknottz

        Definitely that would have been perfect. Shat my dad said just got axed too.

    • ikagirl

      Spader and the Shat? It would be great!

  • Ronnie1

    Quite an interesting casting!! Loved him in the finale, and he can be funny with the right material. Just hearing that he took over the company within DAYS…yeah, I’ll check it out when it returns in the fall!

  • Zoe

    Awesome news! Food for thought about the actual manager position, though…why can’t they just keep the job rotating, as if Dunder Mifflin can’t find a person who’s willing to stay in the job very long? That would enable them to try out a bunch of people with no commitment, and would also be a way to hire Michael back in the series finale if Carell is willing (which would create a nice, full-circle ending, IMO).

    • Mr. Holloway

      It’s not a bad idea in theory, but I feel like the novelty would wear off pretty quickly.

      I mean, I think we had something like three different managers in the last four episodes of the previous season. (Deangelo, Dwight and Creed.) It could be good for some laughs, but it would absolutely make for a wildly uneven show. (IMO, “The Office” doesn’t need to become more wildly uneven.) Plus, eventually we’d get down to people like Erin or that new girl that Deangelo hired whose name I never bothered to learn becoming the boss, which is downright painful.

      • Mr. Holloway

        (Obviously, my previous comment assumed that you were referring to existing cast members.

        If you were talking about more famous actors…I don’t love that either because that’s basically what we got with the most recent season finale and it was pretty hit or miss.)

      • LOL

        Mr. H, my guess is that the new branch manager will be Jim and they will use the tension between Spader and Krasinski from the season finale to their advantage. Jim will dread it anytime Robert calls or pays a visit. Should be good.

      • Mr. Holloway

        Ugh.

        Although I loved the bizarre sexual tension between Krasinski and Spader in the season finale, Jim already had a turn as (co)manager…and it was almost completely depressing.

      • Steve-O

        There ya go. Like Spinal Tap! The last manager exploded… There was just a green globule…. on his desk…

    • Laura

      A real full circle ending would be if they hired Ricky Gervais as the manager. He is the OG, ya know? He created the character Michael Scott was based off of. Except he is much more offensive, which is something I miss about the show when I compare it to the British version – “the cringe factor”.

      David Brent also has the experience managing a paper company. And once he is fired (again) the show can come it’s conclusion.

      • Mr. Holloway

        …except that Ricky Gervais LITERALLY phoned-in his performance in the season finale, then criticized it a few days after.

        Just don’t see him coming back for more.

      • EricLr

        I’ve actually met people who think Michael Scott is rude and offensive. I just show them one clip of the UK original (the “There’s been a rape up there!!” moment), and they realize that Michael is pretty tame compared to his original template.

    • ernie

      It could be funny. Wasn’t the constant changing of staff one of the running gags on Murphy Brown? If I remember correctly, she had a different secretary almost every week, and most episodes ended with her either firing her secretary or the secretary quitting. Funny stuff.

  • Lauren

    I’d love to see Catherine Tate (Nellie Bartrum – sp??) come on as Michael’s replacement. She is fantastic! Those of you that have Netflix Streaming should check her out as Donna Noble on Doctor Who, and as the star of her own show, The Catherine Tate Show (from BBC)! So talented!

  • TW

    Just hire David Wallace as the regional manager for Scranton.

    • DvM

      What’s with all the David Wallace love on this site. I’ve been reading the same comments since it was announced that Michael Scott was leaving DM. Why? He was ok, but no replacement for MS’s craziness.

      • ernie

        Two words for you, DvM:

        Suck it!

  • Justin

    Ugh. I’m good. Thanks.

  • TR

    As long as it’s not Will Farrell!

    And I’m happy he won’t be full time in the office.
    With an overbearing character like that, less is more.

    • Steve-O

      Yeah, I hate that Will Farrell guy. He is such a douche.

      But, I do wish they hired Will Ferrell. Oh well.

    • WillFerrellStinks

      Who ?

    • EricLr

      Will Farrell is like a Jack Black if Jack Black had actually once had talent, like ten years ago. The point is, I want them both to just go away now, please.

  • Teresa

    I like.

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