James Spader joins The Office

Entertainment Weekly reports that James Spader is joining The Office for Season 8.

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.”

Link: Done deal! James Spader joins ‘The Office’

Previously posted news on the next page.


  1. James Spader probably had the best character that made the most impact out of all the candidates. His interactions between each of the office regulars was brilliant because of how fresh and different it was to what the others did.

    Great choice!

  2. Sounds like a storyline that would set him up to be a recurring character as opposed to a regular…

  3. This solves several problems for TO. Spader acts as manager while Catherine Tate is still occupied doing theater in London. Eventually he replaces Kathy Bates (busy with “Harry’s Law”), and Tate takes over as manager.

  4. I really hope he doesn’t join, nothing against the actor but I HATE his character so much and I would stop watching the show if he was a permanent character or even a recurring one… just can’t stand that know-it all, I’m better than everyone here – attitude.

  5. Karen, I am also not happy with this news however I am willing to keep an open mind. I would not have chosen him as the person to take over.

  6. I’d be happy with this if it meant we got one of our in-house cast members as perm. manager.

  7. Spader was funny in the finale, but I’m not sure I’d like to see that mind game stuff week after week. I wouldn’t mind seeing Darryl messing with people or Andy being Andy, but Spader’s stuff while brilliant, would not work for me as the permanent boss.

  8. I think they’re just trying to generate interest by incrementally leaking rumors that last a few weeks before getting squashed.

    At least I hope so, because that is a profoundly horrible idea.

  9. I would love this! Spader was my favorite of all the “applicants” in the season finale. I hope this isn’t just rumors.

  10. I thought he was one of the highlights in the season finale, but this sounds like a terrible idea. Some things are better in small doses, and Spader’s character is one of them. His character would take over the show, when I was hoping that the main cast would step into the limelight when Carell left, so I sincerely hope this is a false rumour.

  11. Well if this is true, then I officially won’t be watching The Office anymore. Spader himself irritates me, and his character is just not a good fit for
    the show…it will totally overpower the other characters! I don’t see why they can’t allow the other characters to shine now.

  12. Anyone but Andy, as he would just be another Michael Scott, only on a slightly smaller scale and far less interesting and complex.

    If i thought he’d steal all the scenes, i wouldn’t like this. But the new boss won’t be the “lead actor” of the show anymore. So i’d certainly be willing to give him a shot.

  13. No matter who it will be, I trust the producers to make the right choice. They have shown they make good decisions. I liked his character and I think they will be able to have different storylines to bounce this character off.

  14. I adore him, and his character. Great news! Although I don’t know how they’ll get rid of Jo…

  15. I think the idea is fine and I will keep an open mind about it, but is becoming unrealistic to have all this turnover in the position. Spader would be good in a recurring role like CEO, just not as permanent manager. I also think this probably means Darryl will become the manager, just as I suspected from the beginning.

  16. Very good news! Looking forward to him and Dwight interacting more. Now the real question is, who will Robert California choose to be manager? He will have the only say in the matter as CEO and former manager.

  17. Spader as a super David Wallace, with more face time at DM?
    OK, as long as we get at least 5 minutes of Robert California EVERY episode.
    I don’t like it though.
    I want Spader/California to stay as RM, NOT CEO.
    We need someone in Michael’s chair to kick The Office out of its doldrums.
    If Spader plays CEO, replacing K. Bates, that still leaves the RM position open.
    NO ONE who interviewed for this job-except Spader-can fill Steve’s shoes and bring an existing fan base to the show.
    That unfunny Tate lady? Never!
    Or in-house dullards like Andy, Darryl, Jim? Snore!

    Here’s my idea for RM…
    Play up Spader’s comic sex appeal and put a WOMAN in as RM, sort of his protege.
    I suggested Pam last year, but with Jenna’s pregnancy, that might be logistically unfeasible.
    Still, have California promote Pam or Angela! as RM.
    Then we’ll have a new, creepy/funny dynamic: Spader vs Pam or Angela.
    I’ll tune in for that!

  18. I’m glad he won’t be the regional manager, and i hope they reduce his role from a “significant presence” to more of a recurring position. I can’t figure how they would make the CEO, in another location, a constant presence on the show anyway. Who would he interact with? Gabe? A bunch of new people we don’t care about? Or would he always just be on the phone with the office staff? Either way, sounds lame.

    Of course, i won’t stop watching due to one character change, i’ll never stop watching. We’ll see how it goes.

  19. I feel Robert California would get really old, really fast as Regional Manager–to me, he’s a character that works best in small doses. So if they do sign James Spader, I think the Jan/David/Jo “person from corporate” role would be perfect.

    Actually, this could be the best of both worlds. You’ve got James Spader bringing a new dynamic to the show without having to sit in Michael’s shadow, and you can put a current cast member in the RM chair (Andy please!) that freshens things up while still being “the same old” Office. It’s like Rob Lowe and Adam Scott joining Parks & Rec–they add to the show without screwing up the main cast dynamic.

  20. I feel like this would be funny, especially because we wouldn’t get too much of the character that would tire us too quickly. But, on the other hand, I’m sure people would get sick of waiting for the new permanent boss, after this season finale’s teasing. I dunno, I’m sure the writers on The Office will pass with shining colours anyway!

  21. I feel like Michael reacting to Toby’s return. I agree with those who say a role about the size of Todd Packer’s wouldn’t be bad, but I don’t want him as a regular. I found the others’ reactions to him funny, but not the character himself.

  22. i hope this isn’t true. his character was not funny in the finale: it was just plain annoying.

  23. I hope this isn’t true. I hope they’re able to keep the new manager secret until the season premiere. I know that’s not likely to happen, but I want to be surprised in September!

  24. I loved Spader on the show back in May, but I would be fine with almost anyone they hire. That is with the obvious exception of Jim Carrey. I don’t know why I thought of this, but hiring Charlie Sheen would ruin it. Not going to happen, but it would be awful.

  25. First Ricky Gervais was lobbying for Will Arnett, then the producers wanted Catherine Tate, now “sources close to the show” are saying James Spader. I’ll be surprised if we don’t hear another name in three or four weeks. If they’re trying to get people talking and generate excitement, it’s a good idea.

  26. A return of a straight laced manager like CHARLES ESTEN’s Josh Porter character (Stamford branch everyone!) would be perfect- the bizarreness of all of the strong and differing personalities would lead to a whole new set of comic opportunities under the guidance of a straight manager instead of redundant bizarreness.

  27. I keep going back to Jo telling Jim several times to hire the right person and Jim, when scolded by others for not taking the process seriously, stammering that he would do a good job. I thought at the time it was leading to Jim taking the job. Assuming JF’s real life pregnancy gets written into the show, Jim still may become the boss as it becomes another step toward maturity for Jim. It would be straight boss with wacky staff. Has that been done before?

    James Spader played the only character I thought legit could join the show. I am not sure he would make a great weekly addition but could play the Jo role since doesn’t Kathy Bates have her own show next season?

  28. I think a great story arc would be for Spader to be temporary RM and sleaze on to Jordan, who we all know has eyes for Jim. When California realises Jordan likes Jim, California would be jealous and make life hard for Jim.

  29. @34 “It would be straight boss with wacky staff. Has that been done before?”

    Sure. NewsRadio comes immediately to mind. Also, Barney Miller, Newhart, Outsourced, Andy Travis at WKRP. I’m sure there are others.

  30. I would LOVE this so much! He was my favorite interviewee — such a perfect weirdo character!

  31. I actually think this could work, too. And I like the idea of hiring a new person on the level of David Wallace, someone who can come in every once in a while and mess with people but not have to be the focus of the show. The other thing is, if he grows on us, we can always keep him (kind of like Andy, or Rob Lowe’s character on Parks and Rec, who weren’t supposed to stay forever but did).

  32. I say I say I say…don’t do it NBC! I’m kinda surprised at how many people think this is good. This guy’s a worse fit for the show than Gabe, and honestly I didn’t think Gabe was that awful (contrary to popular opinion) and would probably get annoying fast. I feel he’s just an extreme version of Jim and wouldn’t really add to the show.

  33. If I read the article correctly, sounds like Robert California will have already replaced Jo by the season premiere. Which probably means Dwight, Jim, or Andy as manager.

  34. @39 how does he seem like an extreme version of Jim, Robert is Crazy, but smart while Jim is calm and sarcastic

  35. YEAAAAHHHH!!!!
    so Spader is CEO and Andy is pretty much guaranteed to become RM!!

    my life is now complete (:

  36. Tanster, what’s your take on Spader?

    [from tanster: i thought he was fantastic in the season 7 finale. i can’t wait to see him simultaneously mess with jim and dwight in season 8!]

  37. Yay! He was my favorite interviewee, so creepy and manipulative, yet so interesting. He will confuse and rattle the office gang. Maybe Ryan will meet his match !!

  38. This is really disappointing. We’ll see how they pull it off, but I’m a lot less excited about season 8 than I was yesterday.

  39. This is good. His was the only character that could deliver a new spin/angle on the concept IMO.

    I hope Timothy Olyphant can do at least another episode. I’d love to see a showdown between Raylan Givens and Robert California! At least if they actually give Olyphant something to work with.

  40. Blah. Bad choice, but I had a feeling he was the one who’d join the show. Let’s see how season 8 turns out with this addition.

  41. I wouldn’t be surprised if his rise is told quickly through flashbacks at the beginning of the episode. I would prefer if they already have an established RM by this time, though. We need some progress on that, not more interviews. That anticlimactic finale kind of killed the suspense for me.
    @32 This is from Paul Lieberstein himself. I think this is the final word.

  42. Noooooo! No God NO!
    I didn’t care for Robert in the finale. I thought he was actually really annoying, behind Catherine Tate’s character, Nellie. At least he will not be manager and therefore not have the spotlight. Still hoping for Andy to be the manager, since I personally believe the season doesn’t have another 7 years to let us see the manager evolve like we did Michael. I’d rather have any current employee fill the void than an outsider. If there is a newcomer, I’d pay more attention to the plots focusing on the original cast.

  43. I hope they at least make it so that Kathy Bates still owns Sabre or something like that so she can still make an apperance if she’s available. That, and I hope we get some David Wallace!

  44. This is great news. Now I’m psyched for next season. He was the best interview. “Dwigt” and him should have some great battles.

  45. @42 I wouldn’t pencil Andy in as manager just yet. With Spader as CEO, I think the manager needs to be more of a straight man. Hello, Jim Halpert.

  46. He was so deliciously creepy – I think he will be a terrific addition to the show. He and Dwight could have some great interaction.

  47. @41: He’s as calm as Jim is. They’re both smug, very intuitive, analytical of others and annoy Dwight, but Rob’s taken it to the next level, adding a creepy-ish undertone. I say he doesn’t add anything because it’s like a similar persona of a cast member is being added instead of someone different from the rest of them who can spice things up and not alienate all the viewers from what I’m anticipating to be very awkward humour.

  48. I won’t pass judgment yet. It could be great to see him play off of Jim and Dwight. They’ve never encountered a character like him before. And hopefully he won’t be around all the time, or in every episode.

    Now i’m even more anxious for who will be the RM. I honestly don’t think i want it to be Dwight, Jim or Andy. I definitely don’t want it to be Andy. But i don’t want yet another new regular. Such a conundrum, i’m glad i don’t make the decisions.

  49. So this seems to me that Jim will be the RM then. Having a crazy CEO and a crazy RM just seems like too much. I’d think they’d want to pair him up with a straight man – Jim.

    This worries me for one reason. I don’t mind seeing Jim fumble. I enjoyed his interaction with Spader in the finale. But i do not want to watch an entire season of fumbling buffoon Jim, consistently failing, i see no joy in that. If they do it right though, and we see some growth in Jim, that he can be successful, then i see no issues. But he can’t stop pranking, either.

  50. All I can say is that James Spader has annoyed me since “Pretty in Pink.” I really didn’t care for his Office character either. At least Michael wielded his ability to make people squirm in a benevolent manner, trying to be a good boss. Spader’s character just creeped me out. My only hope is that if he’s higher up on the Sabre food chain he won’t be in the office as much, which makes me wonder….who’s going to get Michael’s job? It can’t be Jo…she’s too matter of fact…sigh…I’m wondering how this is going to work without Michael…

  51. That guy was one of the funniest people I have ever seen on the office. Glad they chose him

  52. YAY!!! He was my favorite pick. I had a feeling. I loved watching Dwight squirm. I do agree that watching Jim fumble over himself all season would be boring but if they can send him to management training or something to give him more confidence then it could be a great show-down.

  53. It is too bad they took Andy’s character so far down the dufus road. A dialed down Andy would be great as the RM.

    Maybe they could do an arc where Robert California puts Andy through a coolness/sales boot camp and change his persona up a bit.

    Ed Helms could do wonders with Spader as his boss if they can lift themselves out of the Andy crater.

    A Robert California, Andy, Dwight road trip to a corporate retreat would be fun.

  54. Well, one line of thought is that if Robert California is the CEO, then he may now be the one who picks the new regional manager, not the search committee. So who would Robert California choose? I think Andy – he’s the most easily manipulated – the best puppet.

  55. Like others I couldn’t tell who would make the best new RM but I knew that if it was Spader it’d create a very interesting dynamic. His mere presence will alter ALL the relationships in The Office. There’s some excellent fodder here for Dwight being driven nuts (if he wasn’t already there). This could revive the show (does it need reviving?) or it could kill it, but if it kills it it will go out in a demented blaze of glory. Is there anyone Robert California will easily get along with? Or will he be creepily distant from everyone? That’s an aspect the writers and James Spader will have to handle well so they don’t paint themselves into a corner.

  56. Darn, not a fan of JS. I hope he isn’t too over-the-top, even for our beloved Dunder Mifflin-Sabre.

  57. Spader’s overconfident & outlandishly intense affect will rouse curiosity initially. But how can his character’s traits stay fresh without smothering the endearing, awkward, precious mood emanated by the actual Office cast? Such an extreme character could easily cross to the wrong side of the line that Steve Carell brilliantly toed and become too grating. I think the novelty is gonna wear off.

  58. Reality: if they utilize their core writing talent, anything will work well. Writing can make anything work. If they have guest writers every other week and don’t have a good, solid direction coming in, it’ll crash and burn and “The Office” will go out in a disgraceful blaze, ala “Scrubs.”

  59. I don’t think Spader will ruin the show or save it. The Office is still good. The writers can do anything with the current cast. As long as they don’t mess with JAM (more banter & pranks please!).

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