Behind the scenes: TV executive Korin Huggins talks about following her dreams
“When I graduated [from VCU], I was scared,” Korin Huggins (B.S.’98/H&S) says. “I spent a good portion of my life aiming toward one goal, but in the back of my mind I knew I wanted to do something different. This was my chance.”
Huggins enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University as a transfer student from Virginia Union University in her sophomore year. She was a psychology major eyeing a career as a therapist. Though her transition to VCU was tough initially, she immersed herself in campus life, attending basketball games, joining Delta Sigma Theta and taking advantage of the variety of classes offered including acting classes at the School of the Arts and “Personality and Behavior of the African American.”
“My program challenged me, and I truly loved the experience,” she says. “Coming to VCU where diversity is at the forefront of everything we do, I felt proud to be a part of that. It’s about everyone getting an amazing quality education.”
During the first semester of her senior year, Huggins took a capstone course that required her to use the skills and theories she had learned throughout her studies and apply them in a mock therapy session. The goal: get a patient to come to a solution on their own.
“I thought to myself, ‘I will not be good at this.’ I wanted to tell people exactly what they need to say and do,” Huggins admits.
Unsure of what her future would bring, she completed her degree and returned home to New Jersey after graduation. Deciding that she couldn’t just sit around, she started working at a temp agency. One day, she met a friend’s sister who worked as an advertising buyer.
It was this connection that became her first introduction to the TV industry. She interviewed with a company looking for recent college graduates to sell advertising spots. Huggins landed the job and moved to New York City where she crashed on the couches of friends as the company trained her to sell airtime to national TV stations.
Though she enjoyed the work, she soon realized that being on the creative side the industry would be much more exciting to her.
“Television was where I wanted to be, but all the jobs were in Los Angeles,” she says. “I was hesitant at first, but I knew that if I didn’t take the first step in pursuing my dreams I would always regret it.”
In spite of her previous experience, it took some time for her to secure a new job in Los Angeles eventually getting a job at Creative Artists Agency evaluating new and upcoming writers. She used that opportunity to launch herself into a production assistant position at UPN and later coordinator of comedy development at the CW network.
Huggins was next selected for the highly competitive NBC Associates program which trains applicants to be junior executives. She later became NBC Universal’s coordinator of drama development.
“Thousands of people apply and they only pick five, so I was extremely lucky,” she says. “It was an incredible opportunity that allowed me to climb through the ranks and learn.”
While working in NBC’s Universal Cable Productions division as manager for both USA and Syfy, Huggins oversaw the development of scripted shows such as “Monk,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and “Fairly Legal” before taking her experience to Warner Bros. Television Studios to develop and sell projects, including “The Following” and “The 100,” to the major broadcast networks.
Now as head of television for Will Packer Productions, Huggins develops comedy and drama projects through a first-look deal with Universal Television, which provides Universal with early access to the company’s developing projects. She has also co-executive produced ABC’s “Uncle Buck,” NBC’s “Truth Be Told” and the Emmy-nominated “Roots” miniseries.
Huggins credits the lessons she learned at VCU for helping her get to where she is today.
“Being at VCU taught me that it’s OK to change your mind and want to do something else,” she says. “The incredible support I had there helped me to know that if you follow your passion, you’ll be great no matter what. All you have to do is make the jump.”