James Spader already leaving The Office

After all the hubbub about who would replace Steve Carell on The Office this time last year, his replacement is already leaving after a single 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,”Office showrunner Paul Lieberstein said in a statement.

On the heels of reports about contract negotiations for John Krasinski and Ed Helms going longer than expected, Rainn Wilson prepping a Dwight Schrute spinoff, and now Spader leaving, the future of The Office as a whole seems in doubt.

Stuffing The Ballot Box

A great year for movies has resulted in a silly and safe Oscars to rival 2000′s ceremony, when the likes of Being John Malkovich, Fight Club, The Matrix and Magnolia were pushed aside to honor Best Picture nominees The Green Mile and The Sixth Sense. Still, many of our favorites managed a nomination this year, even if they have no chance of winning in a year that all but promises a blowout for the mediocre The Artist. Here’s how we’d cast our ballots. Continue reading

Oscars

Ep. 21: It’s Like Jazz

Paul, Robert and Scott talk about this year’s Oscar nominees and other favorites from 2011, including The Descendants, Moneyball and Warrior. Then we go a level deeper with SSX Modern Warfare and Mass Effect 3. Then another level deeper with a tale about LARPing and trip-hop artist Tricky. Then another level deeper with mobile gaming during jury duty. Then we ride the kicks all the way back up through Young Adult and Tree of Life before ultimately ending up at the failings of the Oscars over the years. BRRWWOONNGG.

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NBC finally schedules Awake, on their only night of worthwhile programming

Those who have seen the pilot for Awake, the ambitious sci-fi drama starring Jason Isaacs and created by Kyle Killen of Lone Star fame (or infamy), proclaimed it the finest show of the 2011/12 season. It was a surprise, then, that NBC left the series off their fall schedule and their spring schedule, promising that one day maybe people would see it, which usually translates to “this show is dead to us”. Luckily for us and sadly for NBC, their would-be ratings savior The Firm became a big fat flop, regularly outrated by basic cable shows and embarrassingly landing NBC 8th place in the ratings last Thursday night. Willing to try anything, NBC will premiere Awake in that Thursday 10PM EST on March 1, the same night that has NBC’s only worthwhile shows, Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock. Catch it while you can!

Dana Gould and Dave Grohl make rock band pilot for FX

This year’s pilot pickup announcements haven’t added many surprising new names to the mix of folks who peddle a new show every year. But this is interesting news: Dana Gould has Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl signed on as an executive producer for a comedy for FX starring Gould as the frontman for a dysfunctional band “on the verge of mega-stardom“. For those unfamiliar with him, Gould is a longtime standup and Simpsons writer who Patton Oswalt credits as “the founder of alternative comedy”. Grohl has been in music all his life, playing in the DC punk scene before becoming the drummer of Nirvana. If picked up, it sounds like a perfect addition to FX’s impeccable comedy slate, including Louie, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia and Archer.