Cris Abrego Elected as Television Academy Foundation’s First-Ever Latino Chair

Michael Schneider
·3-min read

Just weeks after being tapped to head up Banijay’s North America and Latin America operations, Cris Abrego has just been handed another major responsibility: Abrego has been elected as chairman of the Television Academy Foundation, making him the org’s first-ever Latino chair.

Abrego is among the newly-elected board officers of the Television Academy Foundation, all of whom will serve a two-year term starting Jan. 1. Founded in 1959 as the charitable arm of the Television Academy, the org works to preserve legacy of television while also coordinating educational and outreach programs such as The Interviews: An Oral History of Television Project, College Television Awards and Student Internship Program.

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As Variety first reported exclusively, Abrego was elevated to the roles of chairman of the Americas, Banijay, and president and CEO, Endemol Shine Holdings, last month following Banijay’s recent acquisition of Endemol Shine Group. Abrego’s oversight includes Endemol Shine North America, Bunim/Murray Productions, Authentic Entertainment, Truly Original, 51 Minds Entertainment, Stephen David Entertainment and YellowBird US.

Also elected to the Television Academy Foundation board are vice chair Jonathan Murray, Bunim/Murray Productions co-founder; treasurer Deborah Bradley, president of Bungalo Homes, Amherst; and secretary Billie Greer, a public policy advisor and consultant.

“I am thrilled and honored to serve as Foundation chair and look forward to working with the board and staff as we build a more inclusive entertainment business,” Abrego said in a statement. “During these unprecedented times, we are expanding our reach to serve an even greater number of diverse students from across the country, advancing the Foundation’s goals of helping to shape the careers of the next generation of television professionals.”

Abrego succeeds Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, who served two consecutive terms (2017-2020) as chair of the Foundation. Di Nonno will remain on the Foundation’s board of directors.

Meanwhile, Murray was inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame and has served multiple terms on the board of the Television Academy representing the Reality Peer Group and has been a co-chair of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards committee.

Murray and Bunim/Murray Productions have also hosted and hired numerous interns who have come through the Foundation’s annual Summer Internship Program.

Bradley has been on the Foundation’s board since 2016, serving both as chair of its Emmys Golf Classic and on development committees.

Greer has been on the Television Academy Foundation’s board of directors since 2010 and serves on its development committee. This is her second term as Foundation secretary; she previously held the position for the 2011-2012 term.

In addition, Madeline Di Nonno, CEO of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and Thomas Sarnoff, president of Sarnoff Entertainment Corporation, will continue to serve on the Foundation’s Executive Committee as Chair Emeritus and Founding Chair Emeritus, respectively.

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