James Spader, who appeared as an applicant for Michael Scott’s vacant regional manager position on the Office season 7 finale, is in talks with NBC to replace Kathy Bates’ character Jo as the new CEO of Dunder-Mifflin’s parent company Sabre, Entertainment Weekly reports.

For a deal that hasn’t even been inked yet, EW got plenty of details about how the potential recurring role for three-time Emmy winner Spader could play out when The Office enters its eighth season this fall:

“If all goes according to plan, Spader’s character — named “Robert California” — will be introduced in the premiere as the new Office manager. He quickly decides the role is too small for him, and somehow talks corporate into appointing him as its new CEO.

Sources say California will have a strong impact on the rest of the Office staff, demonstrating a manipulative power and a somewhat creepy sexual vibe: ‘Dwight has never come up against somebody equally powerful and diabolical. With Andy, he could be a real father figure and make life really hard for him once he senses he can manipulate him. Jim reads people really quickly, yet wasn’t sure what to make of this guy.'”

Sources say that come fall, Bates will leave her recurring Office spot to focus on her NBC sitcom Harry’s Law, so her role at Sabre will be vacant.

At the time of the Office season finale, I wrote this about Spader’s “memorable and impressive” guest spot, whose character both wooed and frightened a number of the Office-mates: “The workers’ concerns about the character could just as easily be applied to my thoughts on Spader’s potential as boss: His charms are irresistible, and I’ve missed seeing him on TV, but it’s not hard to see how he might end up steamrolling the rest of the ensemble cast, especially in such an enigmatic role.”

I stand by that assessment, and a recurring role as a Sabre higher-up sounds like the perfect compromise for the character’s powerful charms. He’d be distant enough to allow the in-Office characters room to breathe, but just close enough that when they need a jolt of his sexed-up crazy, he’ll be there.

What do you think of the prospect of Spader’s Robert California becoming the new Sabre CEO?

Unfortunately, this potential spoiler still doesn’t answer the big question of who will be the new Scranton branch regional manager. Any further thoughts on Michael’s next replacement?

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Meghan Carlson

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

Meghan hails from Walla Walla, WA, the proud home of the world’s best sweet onions and Adam West, the original Batman. An avid grammarian and over-analyzer, you can usually find her thinking too hard about plot devices in favorites like The OfficeIt’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and How I Met Your Mother. In her spare time, Meghan enjoys drawing, shopping, trying to be funny (and often failing), and not understanding the whole Twilight thing. She’s got a BA in English and Studio Art from Whitman College, which makes her a professional arguer, daydreamer, and doodler.