Well, that didn’t last long.
James Spader is leaving THE OFFICE at the end of this season, NBC has confirmed. Spader, who plays CEO Robert California, filled the void left by Steve Carell after his departure last season. Spader wasn’t on the show as much as Carell was – a CEO isn’t as hands-on as a branch manager – but many assumed he would remain for at least more than one season.
Not so, says producer/star Paul Lieberstein. Here’s his quote to Variety:
“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. 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.”
The show will survive without Spader’s presence, it’s proven it has enough characters to get by. But, as I’ve said many times before, perhaps it’s time to start crafting an endgame for the charming NBC comedy. Not only is the cast losing Spader at the end of this season, series regular and writer Mindy Kaling might exit if her pilot gets picked up by Fox. As well, Rainn Wilson is planning to leave for a Dwight Schrute spin-off. While THE OFFICE isn’t a bad show, it’s definitely worse for wear. So, yes, the show could go on for a few more seasons but should it?