Cris Abrego, Chairman, Endemol Shine Americas and CEO, Endemol Shine North America
Abrego, who originally joined Endemol Shine North America in October 2014, leads the North American division of Endemol Shine Group, the newly merged global independent content creator, producer and distributor with a diverse portfolio of companies that are behind some of the most prominent hit television formats and series in the world. Additionally, Abrego took on a wider role in January 2016, adding oversight of Endemol Shine’s Latin American operations.
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 oversees all of Endemol Shine North America’s programming, including hits such as CBS’s "Big Brother," FOX’s "MasterChef," CNBC's “Billion Dollar Buyer,” MTV’s “Almost Impossible Game Show,” AT&T Audience Network's "Kingdom” and upcoming series “Hunted" (CBS), "I'm Dying Up Here" (Showtime) and “Page Six TV” (Syndicated).
Also under his purview is Spanish-language sales and production team Endemol Shine Latino, which produces “El Vato” for NBC Universo, as well local versions of “MasterChef,” “MasterChef Junior” and “Big Brother” in Mexico. Abrego also oversees Endemol Shine’s nationally syndicated series “Steve Harvey” and digital division Endemol Shine Beyond USA, which is focused on developing original series across a wide array of platforms.
Endemol Shine North America is also home to a portfolio of industry-leading subsidiary production companies including Authentic Entertainment, Original Media, True Entertainment and 51 Minds Entertainment. In addition, Endemol Shine North America has a strategic partnership with Ryan Seacrest Productions.
Abrego, who sold 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 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. He resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and three children. And Abrego recently released his first book, “Make It Reality: Create Your Opportunity, Own Your Success.”