James Burstall


James is a forward-thinking leader. He is passionate about ideas and talent. He trained as a journalist, then producer director. As Executive Producer, his credits include An Englishman in New York starring John Hurt and House Hunters International. He is a voting member of BAFTA and a Fellow of the RSA. He speaks five languages and is learning Mandarin and conversational Korean.

Richard Cook

Chief Creative Officer

Richard is an International Emmy and Rose d’Or-Nominated Executive Producer. His career has spanned genres including documentaries, factual entertainment, music, chat shows and live events. In the UK he has produced and directed for BBC, ITV, CH4, SKY, and in the US; Showtime, E!, HGTV, VICE and CNN. He has worked with an array of A-List talent including; Beyonce, Paul McCartney, Simon Cowell, Will Smith, Spike Jonze and Madonna amongst many others. His credits include Queen: Days of Our Lives (BBC), The Cruise Ship (ITV), T4, Popworld and Transmission (Channel 4), and in the branded world iTunes Music Festival, Red Bull Rivals and Nike Supersonic. Richard is a voting member of BAFTA and the International Emmy Awards.

Angela Harmon

Director of Talent and Development

Angela Harmon is an Emmy Nominated talent and development professional who specializes in finding the odd, the interesting, and the outrageous. Angela has worked on some of the most memorable shows on TV, namely; Cash Cab, 16 & Pregnant / Teen Mom, spinoffs of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Jerry Seinfeld’s The Marriage Ref and Miami Ink. Angela has also worked in film development for Academy Award Winner, the late Jonathan Demme and Academy Award Nominee Spike Lee.

Zack Watson

Casting & Development Assistant

Zack Watson is the Development and Casting Assistant for Tough Cookie, aiding in all aspects of bringing entertainment to your living room. Zack has a mixed background in both News and Comedy, having worked for CNN, Coca-Cola, NBC, and as a local news reporter before moving to New York. He’s worked on Emmy Award Winning, NBC investigative piece- ‘The Triangle,’ and CNN’s ‘The Eighties.’ As long as it’s a story, he’s interested in telling it. Zack earned his BA in Broadcast Journalism at the Grady College of Journalism at the University of Georgia.

Ilene Merenstein

Head of Post Production

Head of Post Production since 2010, Ilene Merenstein is responsible for over-seeing Tough Cookie's Post-Production teams on it's numerous series and developing projects. Ilene has worked as the Head of Post Production for House Hunters International, delivering over 600 episodes. In addition, she has taken creative roles in various projects including Creative Consultant on Mom Caves (HGTV), producing and editing on Dear Genevieve (HGTV) and serving as Co-EP on Genevieve's Renovation (HGTV) Digital Series.

From 2005- 2010 as Director, then VP of Post at Original Media, she was Executive Producer on LA Ink (TLC), Supervising Producer on Rachel Zoe (Bravo), and had creative roles on numerous pilots including, King of Dirt (HGTV),Storm Chasers (Discovery) and Swamp People (History Channel).

Beginning her career as an editor, this Emmy-nominated, Monitor winning editor has written, produced and edited for Disney Channel, Nickelodeon, CTW and Comedy Central. She was also the Co-Creator/ Executive Producer of Leader of the Pack (HGTV) and Creator and Executive Producer of an original puppet series she sold to Scholastic and Time Warner.

Ilene brings her vast technical and creative experience in production to run an efficient and cost-effective post environment.

Wendy Hall

Company Manager

Wendy is the Company Manager at Tough Cookie’s New York office. She has managed shows for HGTV, A&E, TLC and Food Network and oversees production for all of Tough Cookie’s development projects. Before joining the New York team, Wendy was based in London, managing episodes of Car Booty for BBC1 and numerous factual and drama development projects, as well as coordinating the observational documentary series' Crash Scene Investigators for ITV and BBC’s Missing, and ITV documentaries Body Building Pensioners and Me and My Face. Wendy also worked as Post Production Coordinator on Leopardrama's Mysterious Creatures for ITV starring Brenda Blethyn and Timothy Spall, and Production Coordinator on The Grey Man for BBC1 with Olivia Colman.

Tough Cookie
234 5th Avenue
Suite 516
New York City

Enquiries: +1 212 231 7714

Email. [email protected]