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.
Chief Creative Operator
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.
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.
Director of Development
Christine Stirrat is a development professional that brings a stellar track record of finding great casts and creating distinctive formats to Tough Cookie's slate. Overseeing concepts from ideation to series air, Christine’s network insight, intuition and passion for TV, sets her apart in the production community. She previously served as manager of development at Bray Entertainment having been integral in the series "American Diner Revival” on Food Network, "All American Makers” on Science Channel, “ Mansions & Murders” on ID and "Single Dad Seeking” on TLC.
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.
Mike began his career in post-production as an assistant editor for History's Emmy award-winning docuseries, "The Men Who Built America." He developed a keen eye for both storytelling and post workflow while assisting on several series including "Comic Book Men" for AMC, "Redrum" for Investigation Discovery, "BBQ Pitmasters" for Destination America" as well as documentaries like "Hurricane of Fun: The Making of Wet Hot American Summer" for Netflix, and "Banksy Does New York" for HBO. As an editor, Mike has been an integral part of the editorial team for the celebrity-driven series "Super Into" for TruTV, the docu-soap drama "My Life is a Telenovela" for WE, and the non-fiction, ID series "Do Not Disturb: Hotel Horrors", directed by Joel Schumacher, among other programs.
Head of Production
After a brief stint as LP years ago, Brett rejoins Tough Cookie as the Head of Production. Brett brings over 15 years of production management experience in budgeting, scheduling and managing production teams. He began his career in the feature film world out west and then returned to the east coast and soon transitioned into television. With the explosion of reality tv programming happening, he began working on docu-soaps and gradually worked across all genres of reality including true crime, cooking, and renovation shows.
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 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.
Legal & Business Affairs Counsel
Seth Funk serves as Tough Cookie’s Legal & Business Affairs Counsel, negotiating contracts and advising the company on a wide array of issues encountered in US and international television production. Prior to joining Tough Cookie, Seth worked in private practice as an associate attorney and “of counsel” for several boutique law firms before moving on to provide legal guidance both on-set and as outside counsel to production companies and broadcast networks, including Embassy Row, RG Productions, MTV, and Game Show Network.
A native of Southern California, Seth holds a B.A. from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and a J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law. He is licensed to practice law in the State of New York and in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Matthew joined the Tough Cookie's Corporate Controller. Matthew brings over eleven years of experience in accounting & management from multiple industries. Matthew’s analytic skills and high attention to detail has helped him manage his career through multiple complex accounting fields within the corporate world including Sarbanes Oxley compliance and acquisitions. Prior to joining Tough Cookie, Matthew had managed a full accounting team overseeing monthly and annual reporting as well as quarterly and annual audits.