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We had previously told you that James Spader was in talks to join the cast of The Office as a full-time character, and today it has been officially announced that he will be doing so, but not as the Scranton branch's regional manager. Spader, who was among a number of potential replacements for Michael Scott's former position to appear in last season's finale, will indeed be replacing Kathy Bates as the CEO of Dunder Mifflin's parent company, Sabre.
According to Office executive producer and series regular Paul Lieberstein (otherwise known as Toby), Spader's character, Robert California, was actually hired as a manager but was able to rise all the way to the position of CEO within a matter of days -- where he'll be for the comedy's eighth season. Lieberstien also gave a brief description of what to expect out of the new top dog, saying the California character is a convincing "über-salesman", "like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior." Lieberstein also noted that the office "has no tools for dealing with this guy." From the sound of things, the new CEO will be able get what he wants and keep his droids while he's at it.
Spader brings a lot of experience with him to The Office. He won three Outstanding Lead Actor Emmys as lawyer Alan Shore in ABC's The Practice and its spinoff, Boston Legal. He was nominated for a fourth Emmy as recently as 2008, also for Boston Legal. Impressively, he is the only actor to have won consecutive Emmys playing the same character in different shows (2004 with The Practice and 2005 with Boston Legal). Spader brings still more awards and nominations along with his extensive acting career, including Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival for his role in Sex, Lies, and Videotape in 1989.
Hopefully, Spader's Robert California will help fill the massive gap in crazy-boss hilarity left by the departure of Michael Scott. In fact, there are already very interesting rumors surrounding the possibility that Spader may be there to fill that role almost entirely, possibly paving the way to upgrade the perennially sane Jim Halpert to the Scranton branch's regional manager position. Given that Robert California was probably the funniest guest appearance in the Season 7 finale (and also how well he went with Jim Halpert), this seems like a potentially fantastic way to deal with the daunting task of replacing Michael Scott for the show's eighth season. The Office returns to NBC on September 22nd.