Anyone who’s witnessed the evolution of modern reality-based television would find it impossible to miss the many eclectic shows delivered from Executive Producer Mark Cronin. An Ivy league graduate with a degree in chemical engineering, Cronin cut an ironic path to producing television, ultimately founding the trailblazing reality TV powerhouse company Mindless Entertainment and co-founding 51 Minds Entertainment in a joint venture with producer Cris Abrego. Together they delivered hit series that included “The Surreal Life” and “Rock of Love” during what was an unprecedented exclusive deal for ten un-named series with VH1. Most recently with 51 Minds, Cronin has developed and Executive Produced Bravo’s hit series “Below Deck”. He explains that his approach to creating original programming isn’t so much “Mindless” as it is “gut-level entertainment” which he holds as his guiding principle.
Trusting those instincts paid off in 2008 when Endemol USA acquired majority stake in Cronin’s 51 Minds for upward of $200 Million. We caught up with Mark as he returns to his roots of producing with his own company Little Wooden Boat Productions now already finding traction with the breakout gamer “Idiotest” on GSN.
Scott Manville | iPitch.tv : Thanks for being with us, Mark. Tell us about your new venture, Little Wooden Boat Productions. What was the catalyst for starting the company, and please share with us some of the projects we can watch for.
Mark Cronin : The catalyst for starting a new company was my exit from my old company, 51 Minds. We sold to Endemol back in 2008 and my six-year management contract was up in 2014. I must say, it’s nice to be small again. I’m back to my Mindless Entertainment roots and the fun of producing for myself and not having to answer to the insatiable corporate profit beast. To me, a little wooden boat may be small, but it can still be full of fun and adventure.
iP : Will we find you at NATPE or Realscreen? Any specific agenda in those markets for Little Wooden Boat Productions?
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