'The Office's' New Boss: British Actress Catherine Tate is a 'Top Choice'

2:45 PM PST 05/18/2011 by Lacey Rose
Dave Hogan/Getty Images
Catherine Tate

The comedienne is already heading to Scranton for the show's finale, but sources tell THR that her stay could be longer.

If The Office producers have their way, Catherine Tate will be the new manager of Dunder Mifflin's Scranton branch.

The British comedienne, who will appear on the NBC comedy's Thursday finale episode alongside guest stars Jim Carrey, Ray Romano and Will Ferrell, is said to be the top choice of the show's producers, though her ability to take the job is in question due to her current theater commitment.

Tate, who is best known for work on England’s hit series Doctor Who as well as her eponymous U.K. sketch comedy series, is reuniting with her former Who co-star David Tennant as Beatrice in this summer's Much Ado About Nothing in England. The Telegraph recently dubbed it "this summer's hottest theatre ticket."

Longtime Office cast members Ed Helms, Craig Robinson and Rainn Wilson each have shown interest in taking over as the office manager as well, and producers have discussed the possibilities. “They are all movie stars, any one of them could do it," says one insider. The source suggests plotlines will revolve around and experiment with Helms, Robinson and Wilson's characters jockeying for the position.

Among the other high-profile names that have been bandied about for the comedy's lead are James Spader and Will Arnett, both of whom will appear in the season finale. Spader is still being considered, though producers want to find a character with the "sweetness" of Steve Carell's Michael Scott, an attribute that became increasingly apparent as the show progressed into its current seventh season. Arnett is now out of contention because his NBC comedy pilot, Up All Night, has been picked up to series.

Ricky Gervais, the show's co-creator as well as the star of the U.K. iteration, has been added to the mix of potential names, but a source suggested that, too, was unlikely. Having him in that role would be considered “a little backwards” in the show’s progression, though he will also appear in the Season 7 finale. 

E-mail: Lacey.Rose@THR.com
Twitter: @LaceyVRose

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