Mark Cronin is one of Hollywood’s most successful and prolific reality television producers. He is widely credited with creating the celeb-reality sub-genre with the breakout hit of “The Surreal Life” (The WB) in 2003 in which, Cronin’s comedic tones and production models helped shape the reality TV format still in use in much of today’s reality landscape.
After earning a chemical engineering degree from the University of Pennsylvania, Cronin began his professional career in technical research and marketing. While there, he began moonlighting as a freelance writer for "Global Village News," an Ace award-winning newsbreak spoof on Nick-at-Nite. Cronin switched careers permanently when he joined Howard Stern’s nationally syndicated WWOR Channel 9 show, “The Howard Stern Show,” as a writer and producer. He continued to serve on many of Stern’s TV and video projects including “Howard Stern’s New Year’s Rotten Eve 1994” special, which was the highest grossing non-sports pay-per-view event of all time. In 1995, Cronin became the initial head-writer and later showrunner for MTV’s iconic show “Singled Out” starring Jenny McCarthy and Chris Hardwick and went on to create the comedic game show hit “Beat the Geeks” for Comedy Central.
After co-founding the reality production company, Mindless Entertainment, Cronin joined forces with 51 Pictures, to form the reality powerhouse 51 Minds Entertainment in 2004. Under that banner, Cronin created and co-created some of the most popular content in reality television serving as showrunner on such hits as “Flavor of Love,” “Rock of Love,” and “Charm School.” 51 Minds is credited with reviving VH1, setting numerous network and basic cable ratings records and giving the network its largest and most successful lineup of reality TV. In 2008, 51 Minds was sold to Endemol USA in one of the largest reality production company sales of all time. Cronin continued to develop new programming for the company, including Bravo’s highest rated series premiere, “Below Deck,” now in it’s fourth season as well as the successful spin-off“Below Deck Mediterranean” currently in production on its second season.
In 2014 Cronin left 51 Minds and set out on a new endeavor, founding Little Wooden Boat Productions under which he produces the successful GSN brainteaser game show “Idiotest” currently in its third season.
As one of the most innovative creators and producers of reality television, Mark Cronin has founded three successful production companies, and served as showrunner on 43 separate TV series on 12 different networks. He created or co-created 38 series more than half of which went to multiple seasons and 20 of which garnered spin-offs due to the successes of their original flagship series.
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