Cris Abrego was named Chairman of the Americas, Banijay and President and CEO, Endemol Shine Holdings, in November 2020. In his new role, Abrego oversees both the North American and Latin American divisions of Banijay, the world’s largest international content producer and distributor.
In North America, Abrego now leads a stable of award-winning unscripted and scripted production studios that includes Endemol Shine North America, Bunim/Murray Productions, Authentic Entertainment, Truly Original, 51 Minds Entertainment and Steven David Entertainment.
Additionally, Abrego has oversight of Endemol Shine Latino, the company’s Spanish-language sales and development arm that leads all original programming initiatives across Latin America, including Mexico City-based studios Endemol Shine Boomdog and Banijay Mexico & U.S. Hispanic, as well as Endemol Shine Brasil.
Hit series under Abrego’s purview in the U.S. include Big Brother (CBS), MasterChef (FOX), Lego Masters (FOX), The Real Housewives of Atlanta (Bravo), The Real World Homecoming: Los Angeles (Paramount+), Ink Masters (Paramount Network), Below Deck (Bravo), Wipeout (TBS) and the upcoming launches of Foodtastic (Disney+), Pride & Prejudice: An Experiment in Romance (Peacock) and Ripley (Showtime).
Spanish-language series include Mira Quién Baila (Univision), LOL: Last One Laughing (Amazon), ¿Quién Es La Máscara? (Televisa), MasterChef Mexico (Azteca), Tu Cara Me Suena (Univison) La Casa de los Famosos (Telemundo) and Súbete a Mi Moto (Amazon), as well as Brazilian hit series MasterChef Brasil (Bandeirantes/Discovery), All Together Now (Teen) (Record), Extreme Makeover Home Edition (GNT/Globo) and Game of Clones (Amazon/Record).
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 the celeb-reality genre. Abrego previously served as CEO, Endemol Shine North America and Chairman, Endemol Shine Americas, positions he held from November 2016 through Banijay’s 2020 acquisition of Endemol Shine Group.
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, 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.
He began his career at Bunim/Murray, where he worked in production on original unscripted hits “The Real World” and “Road Rules.”
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 led Endemol Shine North America’s launch of the company’s first Diversity and Inclusion committee.
Abrego was also recently elected Chairman of the Television Academy Foundation, making him the organization’s first-ever Latino chair. And he is helping spearhead the TV Academy Foundation’s unscripted diversity internship program with leaders from across the reality TV industry.
In 2013, Abrego started a scholarship fund at his alma mater, Mountain View High School in El Monte, Ca., which provides college tuition and additional resources for student athletes. The program, led by Abrego’s mother Tina, has helped more than 25 student-athletes attend four-year universities nationally.
Abrego released his first book in 2016, “Make It Reality: Create Your Opportunity, Own Your Success.” He currently resides in Los Angeles, California with his wife and three children.