Is this the new boss of “The Office”?

British actress Catherine Tate is said to be the most likely replacement for longtime star Steve Carell

Topics: The Office, Television,

Is this the new boss of "The Office"?Stage and screen actress Catherine Tate, costar of "Doctor Who" and an eponymous sketch comedy show, is said to be the frontrunner to replace Steve Carell on "The Office."

On NBC’s “The Office,” the Scranton branch of the Dunder-Mifflin paper company is embroiled in a heated search to replacing outgoing boss Michael Scott. Offscreen, though, the job may already be filled by British actress Catherine Tate.

The Hollywood Reporter claims Tate is the frontrunner to take the lead on the long-running sitcom. She’s best known stateside for playing the title character’s assistant on the David Tennant edition of “Doctor Who” and the Queen of Lilliput in the misbegotten 2010 film of “Gulliver’s Travels,” opposite Jack Black, but she’s got a long resume in the U.K. as a comedian and character actress. She starred in the acclaimed sketch comedy series “The Catherine Tate Show” and is currently acting opposite David Tennant in “Much Ado About Nothing” at London’s Wyndham Theater.

Tate will appear in tonight’s installment of “The Office,” a “search committee” episode that also includes appearances by Jim Carrey, Ray Romano, James Spader and Will Arnett, all of whom play wannabe-replacements for Michael.  The Hollywood Reporter calls Tate “the top choice of the show’s producers, though her ability to take the job is in question due to her current theater commitment.”

I’ve previously written that I don’t really see the point of continuing “The Office” after Carell’s exit. He was the anxious soul of the series, and his character’s jerk-to-somewhat-nice-guy arc felt credible and complete when he strolled into the sunset — okay, into an airport terminal — at the end of the April 28 episode. But since NBC is determined to keep this cash cow going, it’s better to fill the lead role with somebody who has no strong prior associations in the United States beyond the cults of “Doctor Who” and British comedy.

Whatever their strengths and weaknesses as actors, the other “applicants” on tonight’s show are big-name American film or TV stars who are probably not serious contenders to replace Carell. And even if they were, they have such strongly defined, pre-existing personas that it’s hard to picture them blending into the current cast. It would be tough to look at Spader, for instance, without picturing a moment from one of his many sexually perverse film roles, or the inscrutable deadpan smirk that served him so well on “Boston Legal.” And Will Ferrell’s overqualified guest shots on recent “Office” episodes were just too big and cartoony, too much like sketch comedy riffing. It would be smarter to go with a versatile unknown quantity like Tate. Plus, putting a woman at the center of the action might kick “The Office” out of the male self-pity groove that it settled into during later seasons. (Though if the producers want to cast a female in the lead, I like TV Guide writer Damian Holbrook’s suggestion of  Parker Posey, a veteran of Christopher Guest’s improv mockumentary films and a recent guest star on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”)

What do you think? Is Tate a good choice?  Would Parker Posey or some other wild card pick be better? Should “The Office” promote from within and cast Ed Helms, Craig Robinson or Rainn Wilson, all of whom are still in talks to replace Carell? Or is the show incapable of reinventing itself no matter who gets cast?

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>