James Spader and Rainn Wilson Leaving “The Office”
It looks like in a few months Dunder Mifflin is going to have to hold a job fair to replace not one, but two of their employees when James Spader and Rainn Wilson depart at the end of the current season.
After Steve Carell left the series last season, James Spader was selected as his replacement, but the deal was for only one season and a minimum of only 15 episodes. Even though the ratings for the popular NBC show are still holding strong at an average of 5 million viewers, making it NBC's highest rated Thursday night show, Spader has decided to not extend his contract and bow out at the end of the season. According to executive producer Paul Lieberstein,
"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."
At this point it is not certain if Spader will be written off the show during the finale, or if his absence will be explained at the start of next season, if there is one.
At this time, NBC has yet to confirm if "The Office" will return for a 9th season, but they have confirmed the long standing rumor of a Dwight Schrute spin-off starring Rainn Wilson. Lieberstein confirmed that he and Wilson have been working on the idea of a spin-off for 6 months now, with the show taking place at Schrute Farms. NBC has announced that an upcoming episode of "The Office" will act as a backdoor pilot episode for the spin-off.
Within two seasons, "The Office" will have lost three major cast members. Does this mean the end of the series, or can NBC bring in someone else to fill the void?