What CBS Television Distribution’s Jonathan Bingaman
loves about syndication sales is that he spends
all day, every day, competing.
It fits Bingaman well. After he graduated from Susquehanna
University in Pennsylvania, he spent four years
playing competitive tennis and working as a tennis pro.
When his friends told him that he hadn’t worked a hard
day in his life, he set out to prove them wrong.
His first “real” job was working as an assistant at rep firm Blair Television. After a year, he had the gumption
to tell the company’s president that he was ready
for a sales job. When it didn’t happen fast enough, he
went to work selling Bloomberg TV’s financial news
segments to TV stations, a challenging assignment by
After two years, he interviewed with CBS Television
Distribution’s Scott Koondel, who was then managing
the company’s East Coast office.
“We played chess the entire time. It was a very competitive
atmosphere,” says Bingaman.
“His competitiveness was so obvious,” says Koondel,
who recognized a kindred spirit. Koondel had just
been promoted to senior VP of distribution at Paramount
Domestic Television, which later became CBS
Television Distribution. Later on, when Koondel was
moving to Los Angeles to be executive VP of distribution,
Bingaman found him while shopping for a suit
for his son’s bar mitzvah.
“He convinced me why he would be good for Los
Angeles,” says Koondel. “That defines who he is. He sees
how the play will develop before it does.”
“Every day, it’s about listening to my clients and trying
to ! t the pieces of the puzzle to put together a
deal,” says Bingaman. “With so many hours of programming, I have a tough time believing there isn’t
something for me to sell them.”
Bingaman was promoted to senior VP of cable sales
a year ago, and has been instrumental in CTD’s sales
of Hawaii Five-0 to TNT and of a new cycle of veteran
sitcom Frasier to Hallmark and WE tv after Lifetime’s
run of the show concluded. Looking ahead, he sees new
opportunities coming from over-the-top video providers
such as Netflix.
“I can’t think of anything more exciting than television
sales. When I was " rst hired, Scott told me, ‘It
takes a year to learn this business—I need you to learn
it in three months.’ I laugh, because the whole business
changes every three months,” says Bingaman.
“I feel like I have 5-6 chess boards on my desk and
I’m playing them all the time.”