The Office was forced to fill the void left by Michael Scott quitting his job as Dunder Mifflin Scranton’s regional manager in season 7.
The Office was forced to fill the void left by Michael Scott quitting his job as Dunder Mifflin Scranton’s regional manager in season 7. Steve Carell portrayed the role up to that point, serving as the central figure of the series. The actor’s departure was a big blow to the sitcom, but series creator Greg Daniels and his crew considered a number of major actors before James Spader took on a leadership role as the series headed in a new direction.
When Michael moved with his fiancée, Holly Flax, to Colorado in the latter half of season 7, a short-term replacement was hired. Deangelo Vickers, played by Will Ferrell, arrived at the Scranton branch ready to take on the managerial role. Unfortunately, he was a little too eager to impress his co-workers, leaving him in a coma following a basketball hoop accident. The two-part finale, “Search Committe” focused on the branch interviewing new replacements, which gave The Office a chance to feature a slew of special guest stars looking to get Michael’s old job.
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By this point in the series, Dunder Mifflin merged with a printer company named Sabre. Kathy Bates was cast as Sabre’s CEO, Jo Bennett, allowing the noteworthy actress to appear from time to time. Seeing as Bates was cast in a new series around the same time, The Office needed even more star-power to fill the various leadership voids. According to Andy Greene’s novel, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, the series toyed with the idea of promoting one of the regular cast members and using their character as the new manager. While Spader was eventually cast in a season-long stint as Robert California, he wasn’t the only option as far as Dunder Mifflin newcomers.
Several Notable Celebs Were Considered For The Replacement Manager Role In The Office
Halsted Sullivan, a writer on The Office, shared in Greene’s novel that he pitched the idea of getting Queen Latifah as the new manager in the post-Michael era. He thought it would have been entertaining to see her character come in and fire all of the long-time employees to hire new workers played by Black comedians. Writer Paul Lieberstien, who also played Toby Flenderson, also revealed there was a debate to bring in Ricky Gervais as David Brent, the star of the original version of The Office. The group, however, worried that he was too similar to Michael Scott, so instead, they brought David in to interview as a fun cameo. Will Arnett was another interviewer that was highly considered for the manager role, but his schedule didn’t give the show a chance to expand the role.
Aside from Spader, acclaimed actor James Gandolfini emerged as a top pick. Daniels loved the idea of having someone linked to a serious drama like The Sopranos join a workplace comedy. Despite his interest, it didn’t work out and Spader became the top choice. Originally intended to have a short role, Spader was brought back for a lead part throughout season 8. It was revealed in the season’s opener that Robert was hired as the new regional manager, he decided to fight for the CEO position, which Jo gave him. In doing so, Andy Bernard was chosen as the new manager for much of The Office‘s final two seasons.
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