NBC was left with a big hole to fill in its Thursday night lineup this fall — and we’re not talking about finding a replacement for the cancelled “Outsourced.”
Steve Carell’s departure from “The Office,” ending his tenure as Dunder Mifflin manager Michael Scott last season, will require major tinkering to the series. James Spader has joined the cast to pick up some of the slack, and his addition is something Robert Greenblatt, Chairman of NBC Entertainment, is cautiously ecstatic about.
“My expectations are always very measured so that we can under-expect and hopefully over-deliver,” Greenblatt told journalists gathered at the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday when asked about his long-term thoughts on the series. “‘The Office’ is very important to us. It’s our no. 1 show in all kinds of demos. Shows go through transitions as they age, and I think losing Steve is one of those. I think it makes the writing staff kind of get back on their game, and everybody has to sort of refocus on what the show is. It will cause some slight adjustments for the rest of the cast as things move around,” he says.
The transition on set so far, however, has been smooth.
“I was at the first two episodes’ table reading a couple weeks ago,” Greenblatt says, “and I think James Spader is completely different than Steve, his own iconoclastic kind of acting style. The character, I think, is really unique. I think he’s the perfect fit in that mix.”