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YouTube celebrities are a dime a dozen, but few of them have made it beyond their teen years. Lucas Cruikshank
offers a unique exception: He was only 13 when he created Fred Figglehorn
, a hyper-active 6-year-old unable to contain his giddiness, launching a Web series on YouTube featuring the character in 2006.
Four years later, the 16-year-old Cruikshank has racked up more than 500 million views for the three seasons of his show, sold upwards of $100,000 worth of advertisements and sponsorships, and even wrapped a “Fred” TV movie set to air in the fall on Nickelodeon.
“We know the great unifier for kids of all ages and both genders is downloading comedy from the Internet. It’s a new way for unique talent to pop,” says Nick development prexy Marjorie Cohn, who also arranged Cruikshank’s cameo on the net’s webshow-themed “iCarly.”
“I think I’m just really lucky to have my Internet career last more than a few months,” says the teen cut-up, whose YouTube performances are mainly based around improvisation. “I’m lucky to have a series where people are coming back for more.”
Although his fame has brought him appearances on “The Tyra Banks Show” and CNN, the Columbus, Neb., native has learned to shake off the pressure of his sudden notoriety. “When I first found out the videos were getting really popular, I got nervous, but that didn’t last very long,” he says. “I’m by myself when I make them. It’s just me and the camera, so I really don’t have that feeling of millions of people watching.”