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James Spader Leaving NBC's 'The Office' This Season

James Spader will not return to NBC's 'The Office' after this season.

One season after filling the void left by Steve Carell as Dunder Mifflin CEO Robert California, the 52-year-old actor has decided not to return for the show's ninth season.

"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," executive producer Paul Lieberstein tells 'Variety'.

"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."

Although ratings have dropped, the show remains the network's highest rated Thursday night comedy.

But 'Office' fans should note that Mindy Kaling, who plays Kelly Kapoor, just completed a pilot at Fox and could leave the show if her series is picked up.

The peacock is also working on a spin-off centered around Dwight Schrute, played by Rainn Wilson, and life on his family farm.

NBC has yet to officially announce if 'The Office' will return for a ninth season this fall and the fallout from two projects will likely play into its decision.

February 28, 2012 |

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