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Mark Cronin
Mark Cronin.jpg
OccupationTelevision producer, writer

Mark Cronin is an American television producer and writer.


Cronin grew up in the Philadelphia suburb of Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Upper Darby High School and the University of Pennsylvania. At the former, he earned a degree in Chemical Engineering and was on the cast of the Mask and Wig Club. He spent five years working as an engineer in research and marketing.[1] His first job in entertainment was moonlighting as a freelance joke writer for an Ace Award-winning newsbreak spoof on Nick at Nite called Global Village News.[citation needed]

Cronin switched careers permanently when he joined Howard Stern's nationally syndicated Saturday night television show The Howard Stern Show as a staff writer in 1991.[2] His responsibilities expanded to include scripting entire episodes, producing celebrity interviews, and producing comedic field pieces.[3] He went on to contribute to Stern's national radio show[citation needed] and serve as producer/writer on his television and video projects, including Stern's New Year's Rotten Eve pay per view special[4] — the most watched entertainment pay per view event of all time.[5] Cronin also scripted an entire E! Entertainment special for Stern's book, Miss America.[6]

In 1995, he moved to Los Angeles to become head writer for MTV's dating show Singled Out with Chris Hardwick and Jenny McCarthy. He eventually was promoted to show-runner for two seasons. In 1996, he joined the Fox network, supervising production for their first prime-time game show, Big Deal. In 1997, he returned to late night and served as supervising producer for The Keenen Ivory Wayans Show.[citation needed]

In 1997, Cronin founded Mindless Entertainment with then-partner Gary Auerbach, who left the company in 2001. The inspiration for the company name came from Cronin's mother, who called TV "that mindless entertainment".

Mindless' initial production slate included The X Show and The New Movie Show with Chris Gore for FX; Beat the Geeks for Comedy Central; America's Most Talented Kids for PAX; and Cram and Extreme Dodgeball for GSN.

In 2004, Cronin's Mindless Entertainment teamed up with Cris Abrego's 51 Pictures to form 51 Minds Entertainment — the company that produces VH1's lineup of reality television. Anchored by the "Celebreality" flagship show The Surreal Life, the company went on to create related shows including Strange Love, with Flavor Flav and Brigitte Nielsen; My Fair Brady with Christopher Knight and Adrianne Curry; The Surreal Life Fame Games; Flavor of Love; I Love New York; and Rock of Love. In 2008, Endemol USA acquired a controlling interest in 51 Minds in a deal reported to be worth upward of $200 million.[7]

In 2013 Cronin produced and created Below Deck[8] for Bravo (which was the channel's highest rated, new show premiere of the year), Ghost Mine[9] for SyFy Channel (which garnered a second season order[10]), Cash Dome Pawn[11] for TruTV, Heroes of Cosplay[12] for SyFy Channel, and Scrubbing In[13] for MTV.

In 2014, Cronin began producing under a new banner, Little Wooden Boat Productions. Under Little Wooden Boat, he became executive producer of Idiotest on Game Show Network and is currently in the development stage for multiple other projects. Idiotest continues to be renewed by GSN and premiered its fourth season, Thursday, January 19, 2017.[14]

As of 2016, Below Deck has had continued success[15][16] with its audience and has completed four seasons. Season 4 is considered one of Bravo's fastest growing series [17] and season 5 is set to return to production in 2017.

With Below Deck's popularity, Cronin sold a spin-off show to Bravo called, Below Deck Mediterranean.[18] This series premiered May 3, 2016 and the season's ratings permitted Bravo to renew the show for a second season that premiered in 2017.[19]



  1. ^ "Wall of Fame: Mark Cronin". Upper Darby High School. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  2. ^ Hontz, Jenny (July 1, 1998). "Auerbach, Cronin Sign Deal with Fox". Variety. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
  3. ^ "Reality Light".
  4. ^ Hontz, Jenny (July 1, 1998). "Auerbach, Cronin Sign Deal with Fox". Variety. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
  5. ^ Sirius Satellite Radio – Howard Stern And Sirius Announce The Most Important Deal In Radio History,; accessed October 13, 2021.
  6. ^ Hontz, Jenny (July 1, 1998). "Auerbach, Cronin Sign Deal with Fox". Variety. Retrieved February 2, 2009.
  7. ^ Adalian, Josef (April 1, 2008). "Endemol lands reality house". Variety. Retrieved February 9, 2009.
  8. ^ TV by the Numbers
  9. ^ TV by the Numbers
  10. ^ TV by the Numbers
  11. ^ "Breaking News - truTV Lights Up Summer with Three New Series and Eight Returning Hits |". Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  12. ^ Simon, Perry (July 7, 2013). ""HEROES OF COSPLAY" COMING TO SYFY WITH CHLOE DYKSTRA, HOLLY CONRAD, JESSICA MERIZAN". Nerdist. Archived from the original on July 2, 2017. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  13. ^ "Nurse Nation | Full Episodes, Photos, Episode Synopsis and Recaps | MTV". Viacom International Inc. Archived from the original on October 17, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  14. ^ "Breaking News - GSN Debuts New Original Game Show Series "Divided" with Season 4 Premiere of "Idiotest" on Thursday, January 19 |". Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  15. ^ "Bravo Renews 'Below Deck' on Heels of Season-High Ratings". October 22, 2014.
  16. ^ "Ratings - Bravo Media's "Below Deck" Earns Highest-Rated Season Premiere in Series History with 1.6 Million Total Viewers |". Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  17. ^ "Ratings - Bravo Media Finishes 2016 with the Largest On-Air and Digital Growth Among the Top 10 Ad Supported Cable Networks |". Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  18. ^ "Newsroom | NBCUNIVERSAL MEDIA". Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  19. ^ "TV News Roundup: Bravo Renews 'Below Deck Mediterranean' for Season 2, 'The Flash' Casts Season 3 Villain". August 22, 2016.