Fast-talking, squeaky-voiced YouTube phenom 'Fred' gets his close-up [Updated]
The 6-year-old character debuted on YouTube in 2008, and the Fred Channel became one of the site's fastest-growing channels. Fred's hyperkinetic video exploits, which follow his crush on Judy, his dealings with his nemesis Kevin and his awkward attempts at dancing and working out, regularly attract millions of online viewers.
Fred made the leap from the computer screen to the TV last year, when the character appeared on iCarly's "iMeet Fred." The episode drew such large numbers -- an audience of 5.1-million viewers -- Nickelodeon was receptive to the feature-film project. The movie was originally conceived as a theatrical release.
Updated: 3:10 p.m. Evan Weiss, the film's co-producer and Cruikshank's manager, said he and other members of The Collective management team and partner Varsity Pictures opted to distribute the movie through Nickelodeon as the most effective way to bring Fred to a wider audience."The movie we made fits in with things that Nickelodeon has done, particularly SpongeBob [SquarePants] -- another great, optimistic character experiencing life in a nontraditional way, with a very youthful outlook," Weis said. "I love the association of Nickelodeon and Fred. There's certainly a strong track record of Nickelodeon brands crossing over into the theatrical distribution space. That's certainly something that we envision as a possibility."
Nickelodeon/MTV Networks' Kids and Family Group President Cyma Zarghami announced Wednesday that "Fred: The Movie" would be out later this year and explore the character's attempts to win over his unrequited love.
That's quite a coup for the 16-year-old high school student from Nebraska, who, on his Facebook page, said he created Fred as a satiric sendup of self-absorbed video bloggers.
-- Dawn C. ChmielewskiPhoto: Lucas Cruikshank at the 2009 Teen Choice Awards. Credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images