James Spader is exiting NBC’s The Office after one season.
The actor joined the show’s eighth year after his brief turn in the show’s seventh season finale. Spader played Dunder Mifflin’s quirky confident CEO Robert California, stepping in after star Steve Carell’s departed the series.
The Office brass says it was Spader’s decision to leave the show, though the comedy’s ratings couldn’t have been an incentive to keep him on board. NBC’s highest-rated scripted series declined to rank 28th this season, with 6.6 million viewers and a 3.4 average adult demo rating (and that’s including DVR use).
Here’s a statement from executive producer Paul Lieberstein:
“James came to The Office to play a role that was two scenes long in the season 7 finale. He instantly brought so much life and intrigue to the part that those two scenes became a season. 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. I’m already looking for ways to work with him again.”