James Spader Leaving 'The Office' Amidst Declining Ratings
By far the highest-rated TV show on the lowest-rated network channel, NBC's The Office has watched its viewership decline ever since Steve Carell left the show, taking the lovably unfit boss Michael Scott with him. Now that Emmy-hoarding actor James Spader, who along with Ed Helms took leadership of Dunder Mifflin after Carell's exit, is also jumping ship, according to the New York Times, the comedy's future looks anxiously uncertain.
Producers of the show, however, say Spader's departure is right on schedule. "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," executive producer Paul Lieberstein explained in a statement. "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.”
But this seasons's decline in ratings could not have done much to persuade Spader to stay on awhile longer. The Office ranked 28th this season, with 6.6 million viewers and a 3.4 average adult demo rating, according to EW.com.