Ryan Murphy comedy a go at NBC; 'The River's' Leslie Hope gets into the holiday spirit

ryan-murphy-oct-2011-gi.jpgA little casting news, some pilot-season pickups and more make up this party mix of TV snacks. Eat up:

- "Glee" and "American Horror Story" co-creator Ryan Murphy is spreading his TV footprint to NBC. The network has picked up a comedy pilot called "The New Normal" from Murphy and co-writer Ali Adler ("Glee," "Chuck"), about a gay couple and a woman who becomes their surrogate. [ Deadline]

- "The River" star Leslie Hope is going behind the camera to direct a TV movie with a decidedly less frightening premise: "The Merry In-Laws" will tell the story of an astronomer and single mom who marries a kindergarten teacher -- only to find out his parents are Santa and Mrs. Claus (played by "Cheers" alums George Wendt and Shelley Long). There's no network home for it yet, but if it's not on Hallmark or ABC Family come December, we'll be a little surprised.

- Speaking of "Cheers," Bebe Neuwirth has landed a recurring part on "The Good Wife" as a judge. Her first case on the TV bench involves a fight over a financial firm in which both sides appear to be lying. [ EW]

- Former "Alias" regular Kevin Weisman has joined the cast of NBC's not-yet-scheduled drama "Awake." He'll play a shadowy character named Mr. Blonde who dogs traumatized cop Michael Britten ( Jason Isaacs) in both the realities he inhabits, and may have some knowledge about the car accident that caused Britten's mental break. [ EW]

- In other pilot news, CBS has greenlit three dramas, including one that seems inspired by "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." It's called "Quean" and centers on a young female hacker who helps an Oakland detective with cases. The Eye has also ordered a drama based on the life of rodeo cowboy-turned-Las Vegas sheriff Ralph Lamb from "Goodfellas" writer Nicholas Pileggi and "Applebaum," an adaptation of author Ayelet Waldman's "Mommy Track Mysteries" novels. [ Vulture]
Photo/Video credit: Getty Images
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