Cris Abrego, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO, Endemol Shine North America
Cris Abrego was named co-chairman and co-CEO of Endemol Shine North America alongside Charlie Corwin in October 2014. The former co-founder and chief of Endemol-owned 51 Minds Entertainment ("Flavor of Love"), Abrego is one of the leading creators and producers of reality television in the U.S., recognized globally for pioneering a new genre of unscripted programming with the breakout celeb-reality series "The Surreal Life."
Abrego and Corwin now command a portfolio of companies, including unscripted powerhouse Endemol USA, home of the longest-running unscripted format and fan favorite "Big Brother" (CBS), award-winning competition series "Wipeout" (ABC) and the hit Emmy Award-winning syndicated daytime series "Steve Harvey" (NBCU); as well as Shine America’s legacy programming, including “MasterChef” (FOX) and “MasterChef Junior” (FOX) and “The Biggest Loser” (NBC). Also under Abrego and Corwin’s purview is Endemol Studios, the company’s scripted studio operation whose portfolio of primetime one-hour dramas include "Hell on Wheels" (AMC), "Kingdom" (DirecTV), Utopia (HBO) and a diverse slate of sold dramas at top cable and digital distribution channels.
51 Minds ("T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle"); Authentic Entertainment ("Knife Fight"), Original Media ("Ink Master") and True Entertainment ("The Real Housewives of Atlanta") as well as CORE Media Group, overseeing its development and production operations and roster of world-class properties, which include CORE Media-based 19 Entertainment ‘s gold standard of music competition series "American Idol" (FOX), "So You Think You Can Dance" (FOX), as well as CORE Media-based Sharp Entertainment’s "Man vs. Food" (Travel Channel).
Abrego and Corwin were first named to run Endemol North America in September 2013 as co-CEOs and co-chairmen, where they expanded the company into live events, digital and making exclusive overall production deals with globally recognized talent. Endemol LIVE recently produced "Pitbull’s New Year’s Revolution" for FOX with Pitbull, for whom they have an exclusive overall deal. Abrego and Corwin also oversee Endemol beyond USA, the digital premium channel network, which produces award-winning original programming featuring Internet stars such as Michelle Phan, Brittany Furlan and Emmy Award-winner Drea De Matteo.
Abrego, who sold his company 51 Minds Entertainment to Endemol in 2008, helped create the celeb-reality genre with the 2003 launch of “The Surreal Life” on The WB Network. He followed the success of “The Surreal Life” with a string of celeb-reality series for VH-1, including “Flavor of Love,” "Rock of Love with Bret Michaels" and numerous other series. At its height, 51 Minds Entertainment was producing more than 150 hours of programming a year for VH1 alone. Abrego’s other TV credits include “Same Name” (CBS), “Whodunnit” (ABC) and “Does Someone Have To Go?” (FOX).
Abrego began his career at Bunim/Murray, where he worked on "The Real World" and "Road Rules." He grew up in El Monte, California. He has a degree from Cal State University Fullerton, where he was a wrestler.