The hourlong program is based on Reiss’ best-selling children’s book of the same name. The story centers on cranky deli owner 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,” said NBC Entertainment President Jennifer Salke.
The music will be composed by Walter Murphy, who was recently Oscar-nominated for his work on the feature film “Ted.” He has won an Emmy for “Family Guy” and was nominated on three other occasions.
Reiss is a former writer and executive producer on “The Simpsons” and was the creator of “The Critic.” Other writing credits include “Not Necessarily the News,” “The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,” “It’s Garry Shandling’s Show” and “The Simpsons Movie.”
“How Murray Saved Christmas” will be aired in December 2014 and is produced by Universal Television. Rough Draft Animation (“The Simpsons Movie,” “Futurama”) will serve as the animation studio.