UTA now repping pair for television projects
It’s not easy to turn YouTube stardom into the real thing.But Douglas Sarine and Kent Nichols, the duo behind online phenom “Ask a Ninja,” are making some inroads, becoming the first video bloggers to receive the sanction of the Gotham media world. Duo has sold a book to Random House unit Crown Publishing for six figures; publisher outlasted a half dozen bidders for the title, tentatively called “The Ninja Handbook.” And UTA is now repping the pair for television projects via its new online division, holding meetings with execs for a possible series. Sarine and Nichols recently won the YouTube Video Award for best series — the Oscars of the viral-video world. “The media is hungry for new sources of material,” said Gotham lit agent Joe Veltre, who repped Sarine and Nichols. While some previous acts have parlayed Web fame into mainstream success (the Lonely Island trio of Akiva Schaffer, Jorma Taccone and Andy Samberg signed deals with “Saturday Night Live” and Paramount and have theatrical pic “Hot Rod” due out in August), other such acts have had a tougher time in Hollywood. Lonelygirl15 was a YouTube sensation — until it was discovered that its teenage star was not an ordinary girl at all and her fictional videos were the work of filmmakers seeking a movie deal. The “Ninja” Web shorts feature ironic monologues and other sketches on the supremacy of ninjas and also has them interviewing celebs including Will Ferrell. Though the book, which will feature ironic advice on how to be a better ninja, will represent something of a switch from the pair’s two-minute podcasts, reps hope the book’s passages — and the authors’ celebrity– can last a little longer.