'The Office' regional manager revealed in season premiere
Steve Carell had a tearful exit at the end of season 7 of "The Office," but the Scranton staff of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company found their replacement on Thursday's season premiere. (Warning: Spoiler Alert!)
Though Robert California (James Spader) was originally hired to fill former regional manager Michael Scott's shoes, he managed to get himself promoted to CEO of Sabre, the parent company of Dunder Mifflin. Meanwhile, Ed Helms was promoted to regional manager.
During the premiere, California wrote down ever staff member's name with a line between them and took half of them to lunch. During the meal, he admitted that he only invited those he considered to be winners.
Helms' Andy Bernard character confronts the new CEO, listing his "loser" colleagues' strong points, proving his gall and that he can stand by his team.
In one of his first strategic moves, Andy makes Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) his enforcer and tasks him with dealing with the "planking" issue. Also in the first episode, it is revealed that Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) is not the only pregnant team member, Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) who had relations with both Andy and Dwight before marrying a senator is also expecting.
Aside from "The Office," Helms has appeared in "The Hangover" franchise, "Cedar Rapids" and the Comedy Central series "Childrens Hospital."
The network hinted that there may be another addition to the cast in the future, so it's unclear whether Helms will remain the boss. Unlike the previous Sabre CEO Kathy Bates, Spader will be a series regular on the series.
"James will reprise his role as Robert California, this uber-salesman that has a power to convince and manipulate, like a high-class weirdo Jedi warrior," Paul Lieberstein, who plays Toby on the show but also serves as an executive producer on the series, said in a statement. "He'll have been hired over the summer as the new manager, but within hours, got himself promoted. Within days, he took over the company."
Spader's character was one of the few candidates interviewed in the finale to fill the role Michael Scott (Steve Carell) left as regional manager of the Scranton branch on the show. Carell, who played Michael for seven seasons, left the show prior to the finale. Other celebrities that appeared on the episode as candidates for the position included Jim Carrey, "The Office" creator Ricky Gervais and Ray Romano.
Carell said he left the show to spend more time with his family. In recent years, he starred in major films such as "Little Miss Sunshine" and "The 40-Year-Old Virgin."
"The Office" returned on September 22 at 9:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Check out a promo for the season premiere below.