Veteran TV producer Mark Cronin had an unusual background for entertainment. “I went to school for chemical engineering. I hated that career, though, and got myself out by harassing the ‘Howard Stern’ TV show until they hired me in the early ‘90s,” he explained.
From there he became a showrunner for MTV’s ‘Singled Out,” before launching his own production company, Mindless Entertainment, for game and talk shows — and eventually the reality show, “The Surreal Life.” “That became a big hit. Now I produce ‘Idiotest' for GSN (in our fourth season now), and ‘Below Deck’ and ‘Below Deck Mediterranean’ for Bravo,” he added.
Charlene Weisler: How has content creation changed (or not) since you first started in the business?
Mark Cronin: When I started in reality TV, it was still a pioneering genre. Now, as a mature business, there are standard procedures, positions and production methods. In the early days, I think we were making it all up as we went along.
Weisler: How do you craft a character’s image that the audience will believe?
Cronin: When people are on a reality show, you really need them to reveal the truth about themselves. Some people do it easily and willingly, and others have more trouble being honest and real in front of the camera.
I always construct and cast my shows so that the truth will come out one way or another. Once someone is being honest, truthful and revealing, the audience will know it, recognize it and love it.