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YouTube sensation Fred to guest star on iCarly next Monday

February 9, 2009 |  6:15 pm

Fred is going to be on "iCarly!" This is awesome! Seriously! I don't even know if I'm being sarcastic! In a colossal meeting of tween titans, old media and new, the Little King of YouTube will appear Feb. 16 on one of the nation's most popular kid shows. Nickelodeon's "iCarly" routinely places among cable's highest-rated shows, generating between 3 million and 6 million viewers. And Fred, owner of the No. 1  most subscribed-to channel in YouTube's history, nets between 3 million and 5 million views for every video he releases. (It should be said that "views" is a much fuzzier metric than "viewers," but let's not sweat the small stuff.)

This is, in one YouTube watcher's humble opinion, the biggest gap-jump yet by an online video star. If you'd like to dismiss it by saying, well yeah, but this is the kiddie tween world, and so that's a kid-size gap jump -- then let me just remind you of a couple of kid-size hits. As much as grown-ups like to sniff and scoff and wrinkle brow (e.g. Why do kids think Fred is funny?), the answer is, it doesn't matter what the answer is -- kids rule the world.

As such, the people at "iCarly" are giving Fred a king's welcome.  Not only have they jazzed up their homepage with dancing photos of Fred -- played by Lucas Cruickshank -- in anticipation, but they also signed up "iCarly" costar Jennette McCurdy to record an eight-minute YouTube video about it from her dressing room. The video is one long ad-lib in which McCurdy, clearly a talented improvisor, declares her Fred fanhood, then gives viewers a curated tour of the photos of hunky guys on her wall. 

Fred, who has potential to make tens of thousands of dollars a month from YouTube ad revenue, hasn't put out a video since November. Is he making a big boy bet that the real money is on TV? 

-- David Sarno