On the heels of her ABC drama Mistresses getting renewed for a third season, K.J. Steinberg has sold a cop drama to CBS with penalty. It marks the first project under a two-year overall deal Steinberg has signed with Sony Pictures TV after a four-year stint at ABC Studios that resulted in two pilots, Mistresses and Gilded Lilys, and one series.
Steinberg will write and serve as showrunner on CBS’ C.H.A.O.S. — Downtown Division. The project revolves around Nic Fontana and Abigail Luce, promoted as the new faces of Los Angeles’ most embattled police division. At the peak of their careers, with the respect and trust of their new charges hard enough to win, the women are forced to implement the newest trend in police and citizen oversight sweeping the country: the body cam. Charged with running this controversial program, their whole tenure relies on their success as they navigate what also are to become the most challenging years of their personal lives.
The project, which Steinberg is executive producing with Lynda Obst, is loosely based on the lives of LAPD’s Jodi Wakefield and Michelle Veenstra. In 2007, then-Police Chief William Bratton promoted Wakefield to Central Division Captain and Capt. Michelle Veenstra to Wakefield’s previous position as patrol captain — the first all-female command team to head a station in the history of the Los Angeles Police Department. “Are we going to be looked at hard to see how we will do? Absolutely,” Wakefield said in an interview at the time. “But we are going to make women proud, and we are going to make men proud. We’re going to make this organization proud.” The duo’s promotion came at a transformative time for LAPD’s Central Division on the heels of the city launching the Safer City Initiative.
Before joining ABC Studios, Steinberg was at Warner Bros TV, where she worked on the CW’s Gossip Girl; co-created her first series, ABC’s The Nine; and wrote drama Limelight, which went to pilot, also at ABC.