James Spader Won't Rejoin 'The Office' Next Year
With a spinoff in discussion and now James Spader bowing out after a lone season, locking Dunder Mifflin Scranton's doors might soon become an option.
Stepping in during the season-seven finale as a Jedi-of-sales candidate to replace departing Steve Carell's lovable Michael Scott, Spader's Robert California ended up only being branch manager a very short while to start the eighth season. After that short reign on top, he was quickly promoted earlier this year and paved the way for black-belt suck-up Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) to step up to the management role.
"The Office" representatives say Spader himself decided he'd done enough, reports Entertainment Weekly today. Be that as it may, succeeding Carell couldn't have been easy. Some fans - myself included - wondered whether the show had any business continuing after Carell announced last season would be the last. Michael Scott was "The Office" the way Sam Malone was "Cheers": each would seemingly live a half-life without its respective iconic character.
This season's ratings might have proven the skeptics right, and deserving of meting out a few choice "I told you so" quips. "The Office" has fallen from being a top-rated comedy into 28th place this season with series-low ratings while averaging 6.6 million viewers per week and a 3.4 adult demographic rating (including DVR use, according to EW.com.)
"James came to 'The Office' to play a role that was two scenes long in the season seven finale," remarked executive producer Paul Lieberstein via released statement. "He instantly brought so much life and intrigue to the part that those two scenes became a season. James always wanted this to be a one-year arc, and he now leaves us having created on of the most enigmatic and dynamic characters in television. He's been a great friend to me and the show, helping us successfully transition in the post-Michael Scott years, and I'm grateful for that. I'm already looking for ways to work with him again."
Fans seemingly already have one foot collectively out the door themselves. There's already been talk about a spinoff featuring Rainn Wilson's equally identifiable sycophant sidekick Dwight Schrute. Nobody likes seeing a loved one pass into the Hereafter, but eight seasons represents a longer, healthier life than many a show experiences.
Maybe, just maybe, the show really should've ended with Pam hugging Michael after he stripped off his lapel mic and delivered a last, silent "That's what she said." Many probably knew things would get ugly when that seventh season ended with an awkwardly over-the-top (is there another kind?) Will Ferrell digging his hands into the cake for Scott's farewell party, shoveling some into his mouth, then just tossing the rest into the trash.
A harbinger, perhaps, of things that came?