Internet sensation comes to net via TV movies
Internet sensation “Fred” is coming to Nickelodeon via a series of TV movies.“Fred: The Movie” repped one of three new telepic titles announced Wednesday by Nickelodeon at its first-ever Los Angeles upfront presentation. Cabler also confirmed that it had acquired the off-net run of “My Wife and Kids,” which will be paired with “George Lopez” on Nick at Nite this fall. “Fred: The Movie” is based on the YouTube character Fred Figglehorn, created and played by Lucas Cruikshank. Brian Robbins’ Varsity Pictures is behind the movie, which was written by David Goodman (“Family Guy”) and directed by Clay Weiner. “Fred” centers on a socially awkward and emotionally immature kid with a wild imagination. Cruikshank’s videos have been viewed over 500 million times. Robbins initially optioned “Fred” as a feature — but decided to bypass the studio system and fund much of the production (which clocked in at a little over $1 million) himself. “I knew if we went through the typical development scenario, it would have taken three years — and ‘Fred’ would have been too old,” he said. “It would be over.” Instead, Robbins and company quickly tapped Goodman to write the movie, which was then shot in November. Robbins later screened a chunk of “Fred” to Nickelodeon topper Cyma Zarghami, who quickly made a play for it. Zarghami suggested to Robbins that Nick would give the first “Fred” movie a large audience base, allowing him to then target the sequel for theatrical release. But just in case, Zarghami guaranteed an order for a second movie, he said. The character already has a history with Nick auds; Cruikshank guested as Fred in an episode of “iCarly” last year. “Fred: The Movie” also stars John Cena, Siobhan Fallon and Pixie Lott. Sharla Sumpter Bidgett and The Collective’s Gary Binkow and Evan Weiss are also producers. Other Nick movie pickups include “Boy Who Cried Werewolf,” starring Victoria Justice, and “Best Player.” As for “Wife and Kids,” Nick picked up 123 episodes of the former ABC laffer. With its expanding sked, Nick at Nite will expand back to its old 8 p.m. start time this fall.