James Spader wins the role of Michael Scott replacement on “The Office”

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Despite my excellent advice concerning the comic genius of Catherine Tate, The Office has made the choice to hire James Spader as Steve Carell's replacement. Well, almost — the actor is "in talks" to join the show as Robert California, a character who debuted in the season finale amid a stream of other possible new bosses. But that doesn't necessarily mean Spader will be the permanent boss of Scranton's Dunder Mifflin office:

But producers have a different role in mind for Spader: CEO of Dunder Mifflin, replacing Kathy Bates, who sources say will exit the show to focus on season 2 of Harry’s Law. “In the finale, he kicked ass,” says a source close to the show. “He was so funny and had this weird energy. We didn’t want to pass it up.”

Whereas Bates functioned more like a guest star in the series, however, Spader would have a significant weekly presence on the show. The actor’s deal is not done and no scripts have been written for the upcoming eighth season, which goes into production in about a month. Yet if all goes according to plan, Spader’s character — named “Robert California” — will be introduced in the premiere as the new Office manager. He quickly decides the role is too small for him, and somehow talks corporate into appointing him as its new CEO.

Apparently the producers of the show were big fans of his "creepy sexual vibe," which… yikes. (In fact, Spader was my least favorite possibility besides Jim Carrey, out of all the options. Which means I preferred Ray Romano, which should tell you something.) But in truth, this sounds like the powers that be are hedging their bets somewhat, and keeping their options open if Spader tanks with the audience. Perhaps leaving a spot open for one of the other contenders, like, say, a certain red-haired British comedian.