James Spader is joining the cast of the US version of 'The Office', it has emerged.
The 51-year-old actor will play Robert California, a character he portrayed in the final episode of season seven who was interviewed for the Scranton branch manager's job.
Robert is the CEO of the parent company, Sabre-Dunder Mifflin, which owns the paper and office equipment suppliers depicted in the series and which was run by the departing Steve Carell's character Michael Scott.
'The Office' executive producer Paul Lieberstein told TV Guide magazine: "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.
"James has an energy that is completely his own, and 'The Office' has no tools for dealing with this guy. We're thrilled he's joining our cast."
The casting announcement comes two months after Carell, who played Michael Scott for six years, left the show to concentrate on his film career.
When he revealed he was leaving the comedy show, which is based on the hit UK TV programme created by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, the 'Date Night' star claimed the series could be reinvigorated by new characters.
He said: "I was always contracted for seven seasons, and I just thought it was time to go. I think it might actually be a good thing for the show too. You switch around the dynamic of a show like that, I think it can be a really good thing and infuse it with a different energy. I think it's positive on all fronts."
The eighth season is scheduled to premiere on US network NBC on September 22, 2011.