51 Minds topper banks on celebs

Launched programs 'Rock of Love,' 'I Love New York'

Brought up in the Bunim-Murray Prods. family, Cris Abrego loved the idea of throwing a group of people together in one setting, though he thought a boost was needed by adding a pop icon to the mix.

Ultimately teaming up with producer Mark Cronin to form shingle “51 Minds,” Abrego launched series like “Rock of Love” featuring such names as Bret Michaels and Flavor Flav. Those programs in turn brought enough celebrity to some of their contestants to launch spinoffs like “I Love New York.”

The news connecting the tragic murder of model Jasmine Fiore to “Megan Wants a Millionaire” contestant Ryan Jenkins was a public setback for “51 Minds,” though the company said its background-check service was at fault. Abrego indicated before the incident that he was already looking toward the next evolution of the company.

“Our shows have always repeated well, but new ideas are always (emerging), so the concepts we come up with in the future and the way we develop talent will also be changing,” Abrego says.

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