Forbes Interview: A Reality TV Trailblazer Shares Insider Secrets To Developing Blockbuster Entertainment

Anyone who watches TV even for 30 minutes a week has seen the dramatic explosion of reality TV as a dominant genre of entertainment today. According to one study, we’ve gone from one major reality show “Survivor” more than 15 years ago, to over 300 reality shows being aired today.

I’ve often wondered where the ideas for these shows come from, and why exactly do some shows go on to be blockbusters, while others fail miserably. I’ve wondered too what makes them so addictive to some people, yet others aren’t attracted to them at all.

To learn more about reality TV and the secret to developing entertainment programs that enthrall their audiences, I caught up withMark Cronin, TV producer, writer and entrepreneur, and creator of the show Below Deck which is setting new ratings records forBravo. Throughout his landmark career, Mark has founded three successful production companies and served as show runner on 43 TV series across 12 different networks, the majority of which are seeing multiple seasons and spinoffs becoming standout entities. Mark is considered by many a true game-changer in the reality TV world, which continues to rise in the ranks of popularity and money-making ability for networks.

An Ivy league graduate with a degree in chemical engineering, Mark took an unusual path to producing television, ultimately creating reality TV powerhouse production company Mindless Entertainment and co-founding 51 Minds Entertainment.  Mark continues to produce Bravo’s highly popular Below Deck, the spinoff Below Deck Mediterranean and his new company Little Wooden Boat Productions Inc. produces the game show Idiotest on GSN now prepping for it’s fourth season.