June 18, 2013 1:19pm PT by Lesley Goldberg
NBC Orders Animated Holiday Comedy From 'Simpsons' Writer
NBC is going into business with The Simpsons writer/executive producer Mike Reiss.
The network on Tuesday announced it is teaming with Reiss to adapt his children's book How Murray Saved Christmas as an hourlong holiday musical special.
The special will follow the events of Reiss' best-seller and centers on a cranky deli owner named Murray Kleiner who is forced to fill in for Santa one Christmas and does a weirdly wonderful job.
“Murray is the perfect project to get audiences into the holiday spirit, and Mike’s impressive comedic background makes him a great choice to put all the pieces together,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said in a release announcing the news.
Music for the special, which will air in December 2014, will be composed by Oscar nominee Walter Murphy (Ted), who also earned an Emmy for his work on Fox's Family Guy.
Reiss is a former writer and EP on The Simpsons and created the short-lived animated comedy The Critic. His credits include Not Necessarily the News, The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson, It's Garry Shandling's Show and The Simpsons Movie.
For NBC, Murray comes as the network is ramping up on specials and limited series, adding ABC's Quinn Taylor as vp movie, miniseries and international co-productions. This holiday season, NBC will air a live three-hour performance of The Sound of Music from Smash's Craig Zadan and Neil Meron starring Carrie Underwood.