Cris Abrego, Chairman, Endemol Shine Americas and CEO, Endemol Shine North America
Cris Abrego was named CEO, Endemol Shine North America and Chairman, Endemol Shine Americas, in November 2016.
Abrego oversees both the North American and Latin American divisions of Endemol Shine Group, the 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.
The former co-founder and chief executive of Endemol Shine-owned studio 51 Minds Entertainment, 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.”
He originally joined Endemol Shine North America in October 2014, as Co-CEO and added oversight of the company’s Latin American operations in January 2016, as Co-Chairman, Endemol Shine Americas.
Abrego oversees all of Endemol Shine North America’s programming, including hits such as “Big Brother” (CBS), “MasterChef” (FOX), “Fear Factor” (MTV), “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo), “MasterChef Latino” (Telemundo), “Mira Quién Baila” (Univision) “Ink Master” (Paramount Network), “Best.Cover.Ever.” (YouTube), Staten Island Hustle (CNBC), “Trading Spaces” (TLC) and the upcoming launch of Utopia (Amazon Prime), a scripted thriller based on the British series of the same name.
He also leads Endemol Shine North America’s portfolio of industry-leading subsidiary production companies, including Authentic Entertainment, Truly Original and 51 Minds Entertainment.
Additionally, Abrego has oversight of Endemol Shine Latino, the company’s Spanish-language sales and development arm that leads all programming initiatives across Latin America. Abrego recently led the launch of Endemol Shine Boomdog, the division’s newest studio that produces original content for both the U.S. Hispanic and Mexican markets.
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 hit 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 in production on original unscripted hits “The Real World” and “Road Rules.”
He grew up in El Monte, California and holds a degree from Cal State University Fullerton, where he was a standout wrestler.
As one of the highest-ranking Latinos in television, Abrego has made inclusion a top priority for his team at Endemol Shine and within the entertainment industry, as well. He recently launched a fellowship program with the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation focused on creating opportunities within the industry for diverse students.
In 2013, Abrego started a scholarship fund at his alma mater, Mountain View High School in El Monte, which provides college tuition and additional resources for student athletes. The program, led by Abrego’s mother Tina, currently has 15 students enrolled at four-year universities nationally and recently celebrated its first college graduating class with three scholarship recipients.
In 2016, Abrego released his first book, “Make It Reality: Create Your Opportunity, Own Your Success.” He resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and three children.