It was announced today that James Spader will not return for NBC’s The Office next year, pending a renewal for the show’s ninth season. Executive Producer and star Paul Lieberstein stated, “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.”
Spader came onto the show during the “Search Committee” season seven finale, among many other big guest stars that tried to fill the void when Steve Carell left. The ratings so far for season eight have been down a bit, but Spader’s character of Robert California has been a strong presence of the show.
With Catherine Tate on the show now (who was also on during the “Committee” episode), maybe her character will transition into the lead next season.