The Sopranos star Michael Imperioli claims HBO backed up the metaphorical Brink’s truck to prevent James Gandolfini from joining the cast of The Office

“I think before James Spader and after [Steve] Carell, they offered Jim, I want to say $4 million to play him for the season — and HBO paid him $3 million not to do it,” Imperioli said on the Talking Sopranos podcast he co-hosts with former co-star Steve Schirripa, per ET Canada. “That’s a fact.” 

The Office made the switch from Michael Scott (Carell) to Robert California (Spader) in Season 8, which originally aired in 2011, four years after the conclusion of The Sopranos.

Prior to Spader’s arrival, NBC had narrowed their search to fill the void left behind by Carell to him and Gandolfini. This development was covered in the Andy Greene-written book, The OfficeThe Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s: An Oral History.