James Spader takes over ‘The Office’ tonight


Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) and Robert California (James Spader) on “The Office.” (CHRIS HASTON/NBC)

Will the same viewers who said goodbye to Michael Scott last spring be interested in seeing how Spader, aka Robert California, does in his new role as head of Dunder Mifflin parent company Sabre? Or will this shift in the Scranton universe be too much for “The Office,” now entering its eighth season, to bear?

A few TV shows have managed to succeed with new leads. “Cheers” carried on for six additional seasons without Diane (Shelley Long); Charlie Sheen filled the void left by Michael J. Fox on “Spin City” and that worked for a couple of seasons, too. And “Two and a Half Men” attracted more viewers than ever — 29 million — earlier this week with Ashton Kutcher in Sheen’s shoes.

But the ratings, and interest, in “The Office” was already waning even when the recently Emmy-snubbed Carell remained at the show’s helm.

Do you think Spader will bring “The Office” back to life? And will you be watching tonight to find out?

Watch two clips of Spader as California, then weigh in by posting a comment.

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