James Spader leaving 'The Office'
Spader joined the cast of the 8-year-old NBC comedy at the end of last season as a replacement for the departing Steve Carell. But his character, the intense Robert California, did not fill the positon of regional manager of Dunder Mifflin — that went to Ed Helms' Andy Bernard. Instead, Spader took the CEO title of Dunder Mifflin/Sabre.
Although Spader joined the main cast, his tenure was always meant to be one season, according to executive producer Paul Leiberstein.
"James always wanted this to be a one-year arc, and he now leaves us having created one of the most enigmatic and dynamic characters in television," Lieberstein said. "He's been a great friend to me and the show, helping us successfully transition into the post-Michael Scott years, and I'm grateful for that."
Spader, who last appeared as a series regular on five seasons of the legal comedy drama "Boston Legal," first appeared in the hour-long season finale of "The Office's" seventh season as part of the company's exhaustive search for a replacement for their departed boss Michael Scott. Other actors who guest starred in the episode included Ray Romano, Jim Carrey and Ricky Gervais.
Spader isn't the only cast member with one foot out the door of the paper company. Co-star and co-executive producer Mindy Kaling recently got the green light for a comedy pilot written by and starring herself as a Bridget Jones-style OB/GYN, according to Deadline.com. And earlier this year, there were also reports of an "Office" spinoff featuring Rainn Wilson's character, Dwight Schrute.
— Patrick Kevin Day
Photo: James Spader in "The Office." Credit: Chris Haston / NBC.