51 Minds Entertainment Taps New President

Christian Sarabia - P 2014
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Christian Sarabia - P 2014

Christian Sarabia will serve as president, while co-founder and managing director Mark Cronin is set to leave and launch a new production company called Little Wooden Boat Productions.

51 Minds has found a new leader.

Nearly four months after former chief Cris Abrego was tapped to co-run corporate parent Endemol North America, his 51 Minds Entertainment has appointed Christian Sarabia as president. As part of the reshuffling, Abrego's co-founder Mark Cronin will depart, with plans for a new production company, Little Wooden Boat Productions.

Sarabia is a long-tenured 51 Minds executive, who began on the ground level of the celeb-reality explosion, assisting, coordinating and ultimately producing a series of 51 Minds projects. Among the latter: VH1's Flavor of Love and The Surreal Life. In his new role as president, the Los Angeles-based exec will have oversight of the production company's current slate of original programming, development and new original content. (51 Minds was acquired by Endemol in 2008.)

"Mark is one of the most prolific producers in the unscripted space. His creative instincts have been the driving force behind his extraordinary success," Abrego said in a statement announcing the news, adding: "Christian worked with us at 51 Minds on some of our most successful hits, and he has nurtured a number of cable's highest rated series."

For Cronin's part, his new company will continue its push in comedic reality, with several projects already in development, including a Diablo Cody talk show and several other challenge and game formats. The former Singled Out and Big Deal showrunner, who got his start as a writer for Howard Stern, added in a statement: "My experience with Endemol has been incredibly enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to continuing to work with them in my new capacity, going back to my roots as an independent producer."

Following David Goldberg's departure as Endemol North America CEO, Abrego and Original Media's Charlie Corwin were selected to oversee all of the firm's North American operations, including Endemol USA production entities Authentic Entertainment (Here Comes Honey Boo Boo), True Entertainment (Real Housewives of Atlanta) and Endemol Studios (Low Winter Sun), as well as their former companies. Daniel Laikind was recently tapped to succeed Corwin at Original.