News: James Spader closing in on The Office boss job

The long and arduous process of deciding who should replace Steve Carell in the hit NBC comedy The Office, and it’s firming as James Spader, who appeared as Robert California in the season finale.

However, it seems that he won’t be in the chair for long, as it is believed that he will talk his way to the top and become CEO of Dunder Mifflin-Sabre. This means the actor himself will likely not become a permanent addition to the cast.

So, what to make of this?

Well, many people will at first be disappointed that Catherine Tate will not become the new boss. Unknown to most US viewers, she is a proven comedic performer who became popular in both the UK and Australia for her Little Britain-esque show The Catherine Tate Show.

To many, she was the best- meaning funniest- part of a very dull finale, and many though she would add a different flavour to the show which would give the show- which is slowing in its old age- a new lease on life.

The addition of James Spader was one obviously made because of the fact he is a big name in the TV world thanks to his role in Boston Legal, hence he is also a recognisable face for new viewers to latch on to.

But the decision to only keep him on for a short time is an interesting one.

It has obviously been made due to a combination of factors; Spader may not want to commit to the show long-term. It is also a win-win for the show; as mentioned before, the familiar face, along with Spader’s good track-record will make it more difficult for the nay-sayers to criticize the addition of a new cast member. On the other hand, the flagged early exit will alleviate any of the doubts that Spader may bring. And if he does prove to be a phenomenal success, I’m sure NBC would have a clause in his contract allowing him to be kept on with a pay rise.

And the other reason for the rumoured short term? Possibly because the whole new boss experiment was largely a failure. The finale- despite its big names- was a fizzer. Even the David Brent/Ricky Gervais cameo failed to match the surprisingly brilliant Carell-Brent chance meeting earlier in the season.

Most of the guest stars supposedly in contention for the role were really never “in contention”; Jim Carrey? Ricky Gervais? Ray Romano? Puh-lease…

And now that Catherine Tate seems to have been ruled out – presumably the writers/producers couldn’t get her over the line with the network powers that be.

At least this way, Spader will be able to exit and wrap up that particular story arc without it looking like a cop-out. It will also leave a spot open for one of the established cast to move into.

For what it’s worth, it’s got to be between Ed Helms (Andy) and Craig Robinson (Darryl). Both have enjoyed considerable increases in fame since becoming major characters in the cast (Daryl has moved up from the warehouse while Ed Helms is now included in the main credit sequence).

They will both be looking for pay-rises for this reason, and making one of them the main man would allow for this.

I know it’s crazy, and I doubt they would go down the co-managers route again, but would the show even go with the both of them as bosses? It would certainly test their growing friendship (or “bromance”, if you prefer), and compare their contrasting characteristics well.

But again, they’ve already been down this path in the very mediocre season 6.

Which ever way it goes, it will certainly make for an intriguing season 8. And it will be interesting to see whether the show will benefit greatly from this shake-up or alienate its loyal fans.

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Posted on June 25, 2011, in Analysis, Comedy, NBC, TV News Wrap, US TV Shows and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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