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NBC Orders Holiday Special From 'Simpsons' Writer THR

NBC is bringing aboard a writer/executive producer from “The Simpsons” for an animated holiday project. The Hollywood Reporter’s Live Feed reports that the network agreed on a deal to have Mike Reiss adapt his best-selling children's book "How Murray Saved Christmas" for a 2014 holiday special.

The book will be turned into an hourllong musical comedy special, the piece notes, adding: “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.”

In a press release, NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke said: “’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.”

Oscar nominee and Emmy winner Walter Murphy (“Ted,” “Family Guy”) will compose music for the project.

“Reiss is a former writer and EP on ‘The Simpsons’ and created the short-lived animated comedy ‘The Critic,’” THR notes. “His credits include ‘Not Necessarily the News,’ ‘The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson,’ ‘It's Garry Shandling's Show’ and ‘The Simpsons Movie.’”

The piece adds: “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 and starring Carrie Underwood.”