James Spader, easily the best guest star of last season this side of Timothy Olyphant, has apparently won the right to replace Michael Scott on “The Office,” beating out a host of other possibilities, most of which had scheduling conflicts or were committed to other projects. Ultimately, Spader won’t actually be replacing Steve Carell as the manager of Dunder Mifflin; he’ll be replacing Kathy Bates, whose character played CEO of the company. (Bates is committed to “Harry’s Law” next season).
The plan, according to sources, is for Spader to take the manager job initially before getting kicked upstairs, leaving open the manager position (again) for someone else, either internally or externally, to fill it. That’s actually kind of annoying, because after a month of episodes dealing with the vacancy we’ll have to endure another round. It is my understanding that that Catherine Tate couldn’t do it initially because of a stage commitment in London; perhaps this opens up the possibility that she could join later on. Or maybe they’ll just hire one of the characters played by Ed Helms, Rainn Wilson, or Craig Robinson.
At this point, I’m kind of beyond caring, but I am thrilled that Spader has joined the cast. I don’t think anyone can keep the show from free-falling, but Spader might be able to slow the spiral.
It should be noted, however, that his casting isn’t official yet. He’s still in the early stages of negotiations.
Fifty dollars also says that it’s Meredith who gives a nod to Secretary within the first three episodes.