Category: The Office

James Spader leaving 'The Office'

James Spader

After one season, James Spader is 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 And earlier this year, there were also reports of an "Office" spinoff featuring Rainn Wilson's character, Dwight Schrute.


Critic's notebook: 'The Office' is still in business

Critic's Notebook:  A fond farewell to Steve Carell

Steve Carell's final 'Office' episode: Which cast members cried?

— Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: James Spader in "The Office." Credit: Chris Haston / NBC.

Late Night: 'Chunky' Mindy Kaling thinks she's Bill Clinton's type

Mindy Kaling says she thinks she's Bill Clinton's type on "Conan."When author and "The Office" star Mindy Kaling was asked to appear on "Today," she was surprised to discover that she'd be taping the segment with former President Bill Clinton.

Kaling was told that she'd be appearing alongside another author to recommend a few books for holiday gifts. As she told Conan O'Brien on Thursday night, she didn't expect to be paired with a dignitary like Clinton. "My most exciting person was like Michael Crichton," she said. (Surely that would have been a bigger surprise; Crichton died in 2008.)

Making matters worse, Clinton's book recommendations -- James Joyce, Marcus Aurelius, the Bible -- were uniformly serious. "Mine was like a photo book with Lady Gaga photos in it and Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook," Kaling lamented.

Kaling was intimidated, but unlike many of her friends, she at least doesn't harbor a crush on the famously charismatic leader. "He could, like, be on a coin someday. ... It's like weird to think of him as cute," she explained.

If anything, Kaling suspected Clinton might have a thing for her. As she sat next to him, a thought occurred to her:  "I'm, like, 'Oh, I'm kind of Bill Clinton's type.' I was thinking like Monica Lewinsky, like, if he was going to throw away a marriage, I was, like, I think ... I have a good shot at this."

Asked to elaborate, Kaling said, "I'm kind of peppy and psyched and, like, I'm a little chunky." (Chunky? We beg to differ.)

Further evidence that Clinton might have a thing for Kaling? After their segment finished, Clinton stayed on the show to discuss the situation in North Korea. Kaling left, assuming "they probably don't care what I think about North Korea."

When she got back to her hotel, Kaling's inbox was flooded with emails. Clinton wanted to say goodbye and was wondering where she'd disappeared to. 

Perhaps she's on to something?



Late Night: Conan officiates gay wedding

Late Night: Lucky Conan staffer gets Jon Hamm for Christmas

Late Night: Conan honors Hanukkah with 'Human Centipede' menorah

— Meredith Blake

Photo: "The Office" star and writer Mindy Kaling. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

Golden Globes: Who got snubbed?

Steve Carell

Geesh! Guess being the the world's best boss just doesn't mean anything anymore. The nominations for the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards were announced Thursday morning, and we couldn't help but notice Steve Carell was missing from the list of lead actors in a comedy category. It was Carell's last shot to be recognized for his role as Michael Scott, the goofball boss on NBC's "The Office"; he left the series last season.

And getting nudged out of the drama category was Showtime's "Dexter" and critically acclaimed series "Breaking Bad." Instead, Ryan Murphy's serial horror-drama "American Horror Story" nabbed a slot in the drama category.

"I was very surprised," said "American Horror Story" co-creator Brad Falchuk. "When was the last time you saw a horror show on TV? When you do something like this, you're taking a big risk. We didn't know if people would embrace it."

PHOTOS: Golden Globe top nominees

The freshman series joins fellow cable newbies "Homeland"  and "Boss" in the drama category that will have them compete against HBO's "Boardwalk Empire" and "Game of Thrones." That said, in a more general view, broadcast networks got snubbed in the drama category all together.

But they had a better turnout in the comedy or musical series category, with nods going to Fox's "Glee," which has experienced a ratings drop-off this season, and ABC's "Modern Family." Newcomer "New Girl," also on Fox, also helped represent — though, it seemed it would be at the expense of "Parks and Recreation" and "30 Rock."

Over on CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," Johnny Galecki became a first-time nominee over costar Jim Parsons, who is an Emmy darling these days.

In the actress in a drama category, things got campy with the inclusion of Madeleine Stowe, who stars in ABC's soap "Revenge." Another unusual nominee was Callie Thorne, who appears in USA network's "Necessary Roughness." They'll compete against Claire Danes ('Homeland"), Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife") and Mireille Enos ("The Killing").

And we can't help but wonder why the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., given their clear admiration for "Homeland," didn't think to give a nomination to Mandy Patinkin. Maybe next year?


Golden Globes: 'Homeland' creators discuss the show's nominations

Golden Globes: The complete list of nominees

Golden Globes: Cable shows dominate TV nominations

 — Yvonne Villarreal

Photo: Steve Carell as Michael Scott in "The Office." Credit: NBC.

Critic's notebook: 'The Office' is still in business

James spader rainn wilson the office

In this mad week that has seen Charlie Sheen praised and applauded as a comic genius and excessive Internet hatred of that nice boy Ashton Kutcher (a recent Kutcher tweet: "I'm going to hand the next 24 hrs a serious dose of happiness, and if it fights back I'm going to become happier. so take that!"), let us spare a few words for "The Office," that other big broadcast network show soldiering on minus a former central character. The first episode of its first season without Steve Carell as manager Michael Scott aired Thursday night on NBC with Ed Helms' Andy Bernard moving into Michael's old office and James Spader (a successful cameo on last season's last episode) becoming the boss of them all.

I can see why, if Charlie Sheen was the world to you, you might be done now with "Two and a Half Men," though I can't see why Charlie Sheen would be the world to you. I liked Kutcher's "Men" debut, in fact, but he is a whole other flavor of ice cream. And, meaning no disrespect to Jon Cryer, Holland Taylor or young Angus T. Jones, I can certainly understand how the sum of their parts, and the writing that defines them, might not be enough to hold you in that place. But the regular cast of "Two and a Half Men" was hardly larger than what the title numbered; "The Office," by contrast is an Altman-sized ensemble piece with many streams to follow and corners to explore. Michael Scott took up a lot of room, but you might as easily have tuned in specifically for the strangeness of Dwight Schrute or the ordinary romance of Jim and Pam, or just to watch Mindy Kaling or Ellie Kemper work week after week.

Continue reading »

TCA 2011: NBC Entertainment chief looks to inject 'creative vitality'

TCA 2011: NBC Entertainment chief looks to inject 'creative vitality'

It's been a half-century since the hopes of a television network were pinned to one "lovable redhead," comedian Joel McHale said. Lucille Ball once propelled the fortunes of CBS, and now NBC is banking on Bob Greenblatt to be its modern-day savior.

Monday was Greenblatt's coming-out party at the Television Critics Assn. summer 2011 press tour. The last time this group of writers met, in mid-January, was during the waning days of the previous administration -- a decade-long period punctuated by NBC executives who made big promises -- but failed to deliver as NBC slipped farther behind in the ratings.

Greenblatt's performance Monday was, perhaps purposely, understated.

"It's been a very challenging six months for us," Greenblatt, the recently installed chairman of NBC Entertainment, told about 150 writers clustered in the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton. "It's no secret that NBC is in fourth place and we are working very hard, and very aggressively, to turn that around."

Repopulating NBC's executive ranks has been one of Greenblatt's primary assignments.  Last month, the former Showtime programming head hired Jennifer Salke, a respected executive from Fox, to be his chief deputy as the new NBC Entertainment president.  Greenblatt  also recruited his press chief from Showtime, Richard Licata, to run NBC's communications.

Monday, Greenblatt announced that he had hired an accomplished CBS executive, Bela Bajaria, to help him oversee the company's television production studio, a unit that was gutted to save money when General Electric Co. owned the media company.

About five years ago, the Universal television studio was busy cranking out such hits as "Law & Order,"  "The Office," "House," and "Heroes." 

However, in the last three years, Universal Media Studios has been a bit of a shell with a tiny staff that primarily serviced shows for NBC. Big-name producers bypassed the operation, instead preferring to do business with the more prominent Warner Bros. Television, Sony Pictures Television or 20th Century Fox Television.   

"To me, that's not the place to save money," Steve Burke, chief executive of NBCUniversal, said after Greenblatt's session. "Hopefully people will know that is the place to go with good ideas."

Comcast Corp., which took control of NBCUniversal in late January, has identified NBC as its top priority and the unit desperate for a dramatic overhaul. Greenblatt, one of Burke's first hires, opened NBC's session by saying that he has spent the last six months convincing his new boss to raise NBC's debt ceiling --  something of a joke because Burke has said Comcast was more than willing to write big checks to buy quality projects and attract big names to NBC.

Greenblatt said the studio had signed development deals with several notable producers, including Greg Daniels who developed "The Office" for NBC and "Parks and Recreation."  Greenblatt said he wanted Daniels, who made his fortunes with the cartoon comedy "King of the Hill," to experiment with animation.

The NBC studio also signed a development deal with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions Television. Greenblatt said he is hoping to launch a comedy starring Sean Hayes of "Will & Grace" fame. 

Greenblatt acknowledged that his challenge will be to find hits that appeal to broad audiences.  That wasn't his concern at Showtime.  The premium channel has thrived on the offbeat and often dark "Dexter," "Weeds" and "Nurse Jackie," programs with small audiences that would not necessarily pull the freight on a broadcast network. 

"I certainly don't want to turn NBC into Showtime but I would love to bring to NBC some of the creative vitality that we had at Showtime," Greenblatt said. "Broadcast is more difficult. We just have to do it in a way that's really broad and commercial."

Burke was sitting in the wings during the session.  How did he grade Greenblatt's performance? 

"Great," Burke said. "He's got a nice quiet way about himself and he doesn't over-promise."


More about upcoming shows from the TCA Press Tour

TCA 2011: 'The Playboy Club' more 'fun' than racy, Greenblatt says

NBC, Bob Greenblatt have much to prove ahead of the tall TV season

-- Meg James 

Photo: Bob Greenblatt. Credit: Carolyn Cole

NBC announces its fall premiere dates

Playboyclub James Spader isn’t the only thing coming to NBC this fall. The peacock network announced Wednesday the premieres of its fall 2011 prime-time schedule.  Get ready for Playboy bunnies, newbie parents, fairy-tale characters ... and some football.

Things kick off Tuesday, Sept. 13, with new episodes of “Parenthood."  New comedies “Up All Night” and “Free Agents” will make debut in the 10 p.m. hour following the season finale of “America’s Got Talent” on Wednesday, Sept. 14, before they land in their regular time slots in the 8 p.m. hour the following week. Things continue the week of Sept. 19 with the debut of new drama “The Playboy Club.”

Other new series “Prime Suspect,” “Whitney” and “Grimm” will also debut.

For the football lovers, the start of “Sunday Night Football” will launch Thursday, Sept. 8, and resume on its regular night on Sunday, Sept. 11.  

The full list of premiere dates are after the jump.

Continue reading »

James Spader joins 'The Office'

James Spader join's 'The Office'

NBC officially announced Wednesday that James Spader is the man who will fill void of the "world’s best boss" on “The Office.”

Spader (“Boston Legal,” “The Practice”) joins the cast of the NBC comedy, reprising his role as new CEO Robert California of Sabre, the parent company of Dunder Mifflin.

"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,” Paul Lieberstein, one of the series’ executive producers and a series regular, said in a statement. "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."

Spader’s Robert California, self-assured and sexually charged, made a brief appearance in the series' May finale. Kathy Bates played the company’s CEO last season and had a small presence on the show, but Spader’s character will have a more full-time role.

The hire adds a new face to the mix following the departure of Steve Carell, who played everyone’s favorite boob of a boss Michael Scott for seven seasons.

The eighth season of the comedy premieres this fall.


NBC announces fall premiere dates

Will Emmy history repeat if James Spader joins 'The Office'?

Steve Carell's final 'Office' episode: Which cast members cried?

--Yvonne Villarreal

Photo:  James Spader as Alan Shore in 'Boston Legal.' Credit: Carin Baer / ABC

Steve Carell's final 'Office' episode: Which cast members cried?

S-MICHAEL-SCOTT-large300 Tonight, during a very special episode of "The Office," Michael Scott's final goodbye to his Dunder Mifflin coworkers will be extra long and hard ... that's what she said! But seriously, "Goodbye Michael" marks Carell's last appearance on the show, and according to Paul Feig, who directed it (along with a number of classic "Office" episodes), when the shoot began, the cast was still a little worked up from the previous week's bittersweet all-cast singalong to "Seasons of Love" from "Rent."

“It was so emotional!" Feig said. "I was prepping [for the next episode] and my assistant said, 'You should come down here.' The first time they started singing that song, everyone choked up in real life. It really started to land for people that the end is coming."

Did anyone cry during the final episode? "I cried!" admitted Feig. (We also hear that Angela Kingsley, who plays Angela on the show, broke down while filming her final scene with Carell.) According to Feig, during the last weeks of filming, producers and cast members brought treats to the set, including masseuses who offered 15-minute massages between takes. After Carell finished his last shot, there was a special party with a three-foot-high cake. 

"You definitely saw presents being handed around," Feig said. "Steve was even giving out presents to the cast and the crew. I remember seeing them delivered to people’s dressing rooms. But they must've been very personal, because people weren’t really sharing what they got."

Feig gave Carell a desk clock, maybe one he could use in his next office. "I had a Dr. Seuss quote engraved on it -- 'Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened' -- because that's how I faced the week," he said.

Though he's sad to see Carell go, Feig says he's excited that the episode makes room for a few new 'Office'-mates, including Jim Carrey, Ricky Gervais, Will Arnett, James Spader, Ray Romano and Catherine Tate. "It’s a very satisfying send-off for Michael, but what I like is that it's not the final episode of the season. That's very much like real life. Whether it’s in business or personal relationships or whatever, things end, and then you have to get up the next day and keep dealing with your life. So I think it’s poetic to do it this way." Now we're getting emotional. Sniff!


Photos: TV's axings and exits

Critic's Notebook:  A fond farewell to Steve Carell

Video: Steve Carell's co-stars respond to his exit from 'The Office'

-- Melissa Maerz

 Photo: Steve Carell as Michael Scott on "The Office." Credit: NBC

Tweeters Digest: The week in tweets -- a royal wedding and retwitterment

Wendell In Tweeters Digest, we round up some of the events of the week as seen through the Twitter feeds of TV personalities. In previous editions, celebs have come together over some major issues -- Charlie Sheen and star feuds as well as April fools.

This week, stars deployed their 140-character tweets on subjects as varied as Passover, Donald Trump's political posturing and the impending royal wedding of William and Kate.

Meanwhile, Charlie Sheen (@charliesheen) continued to make his presence known. Anthony Bourdain (@NoReservations) got giddy with the cast of "The Wire" (including @WendellPierce), Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) rubbed elbows with Gene Simmons (@Genesimmons), and Paul Reiser (@paulreiser) expressed dismay at the swift cancellation of his show.

And Paris Hilton (@ParisHilton)? She went to Disneyland.

-- Joy Press

More tweets after the jump.

Continue reading »

Jim Carrey joins star-studded season finale of 'The Office'

CareyWell, alrighty then!

Jim Carrey will make a cameo appearance in the season finale of "The Office," playing an applicant for the management job that Michael Scott (Steve Carell) used to fill -- the same one that Deangelo Vickers (Will Ferrell) currently occupies.

Carey will join Ricky Gervais, Will Arnett, James Spader, Ray Romano and Catherine Tate as potential candidates for the position in an hour-long episode that airs May 19.

After spending so much time going through crazy job interviews in movies, maybe he'll finally get to be the boss?

-- Melissa Maerz

Photo: Jim Carrey. Credit: Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images.

Tweeter's Digest: Meltdowns, mourning and feuds in this week's celebrity Twitter round-up

Kirstie In Tweeter's Digest, we round up some of the events of the week as seen through the Twitter feeds of TV personalities. Celebs have finally gotten past the unifying topics of the last few weeks -- Charlie Sheen and the earthquake and tsunami in Japan -- and many have turned their attention back where it belongs: themselves. 

Of course, there were some water-cooler subjects to bring people together: the week started with "Seinfeld's" Jason Alexander (@ijasonalexander) and "Bones" producer Hart Hanson (@harthanson) weighing in on the mini-feud between James Franco and Oscar writer Bruce Vilanch, and ended with Kirstie Alley and George Lopez trading Twitter barbs after Lopez insulted her on his show. 

In between, Donald Glover of "Community" (@donaldglover) had some fun with Chris Brown's meltdown  on "GMA," "The Office" showrunner Michael Schur (@kentremendous) campaigned for Steve Carrell to get an Emmy, Michael Chiklis (@michaelchiklis) of "No Ordinary Family" and "The Shield" worried about Japan's nuclear reactors and Elizabeth Taylor was mourned by many.


Tweeter's Digest archive

-- Joy Press

More after the jump...

Continue reading »

Dwight Schrute, superhero? Rainn Wilson of 'The Office' talks about his head-splitting new movie

Rainnwilson Rainn Wilson can play so many more dimensions than just Dwight Schrute, the smarmy know-it-all on NBC's workplace comedy "The Office." Why, in his wacky new movie "Super," Wilson's character has his skull cracked open so God can touch his brain.

"It’s not a true story, just so you know," the actor helpfully explained in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Indeed. Wilson plays a crazed vigilante who fashions himself as Crimson Bolt, a tight-costumed righter of wrongs, which includes chasing down people who cut in line at theaters.

"You have tonal shifts from really sincere crying to animated sequences to hyper-violence to farcical comedy," Wilson said. “It’s equal parts Travis Bickle and Napoleon Dynamite. I love all the different places the movie goes. There is a lot of it that you just don’t see coming."

To read the entire story, check out our sister blog Hero Complex here.

"Office" fans, what do you think of Wilson's latest role? Will you check it out?


Complete coverage of "The Office" on Show Tracker

-Scott Collins (Twitter: @scottcollinsLAT)

Photo: Rainn Wilson at Monday's premiere of "Super" in Hollywood. Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images





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