Chris Abbott is an American television writer/producer and author. She graduated from the University of Oregon with a B.S. degree in speech and theatre and received an MFA degree in Literature and Creative Writing from the acclaimed Writer’s Program at Bennington College in Vermont. She also graduated from the University of California, Riverside Crime Scene Academy as a Certified Crime Scene Investigator.
Chris began her professional life as an actor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, in Ashland, Oregon. After two seasons in reparatory at Ashland, she became a member of the award winning West Coast Theatre Company in Los Angeles. In addition to acting, she wrote and directed for the Company. She also received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to be an Artist is Resident with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Writing became her full-time occupation, however, with the sale of a script to the CBS series “Nurse,” staring Michael Learned. That was quickly followed by a staff position on “Little House On The Prairie” which led to twenty-five years of writing and producing multiple night-time series such as “Cagney and Lacey,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “B.L. Stryker,” “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” and “Diagnosis, Murder.” She had the extraordinary experience of working with iconic stars Frank Sinatra, Michael Landon, Carol Burnett, Tony Curtis, Burt Reynolds, Tom Selleck, Jane Seymour, Dick Van Dyke, Jackie Cooper, Rita Moreno, Ossie Davis and Johnny Cash, among others. John Hillerman named Chris as one of the five people who most contributed to his Emmy Award, for which she received official recognition from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Along with Tom Selleck and fellow producer Chas. Floyd Johnson, Chris was honored by the Smithsonian Institute when they installed several items from “Magnum, P.I.” into their permanent collection.
During her tenure on “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman,” Chris was invited by The Writer’s Program at Bennington College, Vermont to become an MFA candidate in Literature and Creative Writing. At Bennington, Chris studied with literary luminaries Alice Mattison, Elizabeth Cox, Maria Flook and Jill McCorkle.
The high point of Chris’s career in television came with the creation of her own series, “Legacy,” for the UPN network. The show, set in 1881, had a remarkable cast, and was shot in and around Thomas Jefferson’s childhood home in Richmond, Virginia. Director of photography Manfred Guthe gave the series its ethereal look. Robin Russell’s dynamic editing and the Celtic score by Quebecois composer Claude Desjardins set “Legacy” apart from other series. The State of Virginia named Chris an honorary stockholder in the original Virginia Joint Stocks Company chartered by King James I in 1606.
Chris was approached by Tallfellow Press, Los Angeles, to write a book for their “Ten Minutes To…” series. Entitled “Ten Minutes To the Pitch,” the book includes both humorous and heartbreaking stories from Oscar and Emmy award winning writers. Her speaking and book-signing tour included The Barnes and Noble Flagship Store in the Grove, West Hollywood; The Writer’s Store in L.A., and The Drama Bookshop in New York City. Still In print, “Ten Minutes To the Pitch” was recently released in Kindle format.
Chris moved from Los Angeles to southern Utah and from night-time drama to day-time drama as a long-distance writer for “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “The Young and the Restless.” She was nominated for an Emmy for her contributions to “The Bold and the Beautiful.” Her musical play, “Searching for Neverland,” with music by Ryan Shupe, was produced at the historic St. George Opera House, St. George, Utah.
Her current passion is her first novel. Following in the footsteps of her mentor and friend, Robert Parker, Chris is writing through the eyes of a Private Investigator, combining detective genre with the literary style she began developing at Bennington.
Throughout her career, Chris has facilitated workshops and seminars at UCLA, Loyola-Marymount, the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and various writers’ groups in Utah. She has been a featured speaker for the Writer’s Guild Retreat at Big Bear, California and for Women In Film in Los Angeles.Chris is a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, West, the Dramatists Guild, the Mystery Writers of America Guild, Sisters-In-Crime and PEN. She held an elected position on the Board of Directors of the Writer’s Guild, West and sat on the Writer’s Guild Foundation Board.
For a complete list of credits, see Producer and Writer.