James Spader quits "The Office"

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - James Spader is taking early retirement from "The Office."

The former "Boston Legal" star is leaving the NBC sitcom after he completes the current eighth season of the series, which was his first with the show, the network confirms to TheWrap.

Spader played new Dunder Mifflin/Sabre CEO Robert California. He replaced outgoing manager Michael Scott, played by Steve Carell, after appearing at the end of the series' seventh season. He then quickly earned a promotion to CEO.

According to "The Office" executive producer Paul Lieberstein, the departure is in keeping with Spader's plans for the show.

"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," Lieberstein said. "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."

Lieberstein's statement notwithstanding, the current season of "The Office" has been marked by dwindling ratings, with the show hitting a series low of a 2.2 rating/6 share in the advertiser-coveted adults 18-49 demographic with its February 17 episode. (The show's ratings improved slightly for its most recent episode Thursday, climbing 13 percent in the demo.)

The network does not yet have specific plans for Spader's replacement.

The "Office" turnover was first reported by Variety.

(Editing By Zorianna Kit)

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