LOS ANGELES – Actor James Spader has joined the cast of "The Office" to play the CEO of Sabre -- parent company of Dunder Mifflin, NBC announced Wednesday.
Spader, 51, will replace actress Kathy Bates, who played the stubborn Jo Bennett on the comedy. Bates, 63, will be devoting more time to her starring role on the NBC legal show, "Harry's Law."
The Emmy award-wining actor from "Boston Legal" appeared on "The Office" in season seven as the show said farewell to actor Steve Carell -- who played Michael Scott, branch manager of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton, Pa. office.
"James will reprise his role as Robert California, this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior," producer Paul Lieberstein, who plays HR rep Toby Flenderson on the sitcom, said in a statement.
"He'll have been hired over the summer as the new manager, but within hours, got himself promoted. Within days, he took over the company. James has an energy that is completely his own, and
'The Office' has no tools for dealing with this guy. We're thrilled he's joining our cast," he added.
NBC has not yet confirmed who will replace Carell full-time, but a host of big names are reportedly vying for the job.
Comedian Ray Romano, British comedienne Catherine Tate, actor Will Arnett and Ricky Gervais -- who created the original UK version of the comedy on BBC -- are all rumored to be contenders for the part.