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YouTube Star Ray William Johnson Lands TV Deal

FX pics up host of online show

The TV world is about to get its hands on another YouTube star.

Ray William Johnson, who toplines online comedy series “=3,” signed a script deal with FX Networks, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

SEE ALSO: Could YouTube Become As Big As CBS or Viacom?

In addition to having had the most subscribed channel on YouTube for a period last year to his credit, Johnson has also made headlines for a bitter contract dispute between Maker Studios that saw him walk away from the top-rated multichannel network and set up his own production studio, Runaway Planet.

If Johnson’s project gets greenlighted for TV, it could represent yet another example of a self-made celebrity building up enough of an audience on YouTube to leverage opportunities in another medium, as best demonstrated by Lucas Cruikshank as Fred, the helium-voiced kids favorite that crossed over from YouTube to several projects at Nickelodon.

SEE ALSO: YouTube Unveils Pay Channels

But given the growth of YouTube as a medium in its own right, the trick is to capitalize on a TV platform without losing the Internet-bred foundation that built the star up in the first place.

Ironically, “=3” has often drawn comparison to another hit cable series: Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0,” which also relies on mocking viral videos. And though the measurement comparison between Nielsen ratings and YouTube streams isn’t exactly the same thing, “=3” is popular enough to draw audience levels comparable to “Tosh.0.”

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  1. I’m so happy for Ray. I’m excited. I really love his sense of humor, he is hilarious. Dammit I can’t wait. I’m such a loser lol I’m going to get a head rush when I see Ray on TV. Mind blowing will occur.. lol I’m so happy!!!

  2. Comparable? I think not, with Tosh.0, you have to deal with waiting for each new episode, and re-runs, utilizing YouTube, Ray William Johnson was a huge star, still is, I wish my man all the luck, i’ve been watching him since the start, I just hope this TV gig goes well, and doesn’t blow up in his face…and the episodes end up on =3 or RunawayPlanet, that would be nice

    • Tosh’s only schtick is to be intensely embarrassing/weird/aggressively gay at people — predictable. I get it… it is funny sometimes. Usually though, I find it painful to watch the formulaic nonsense. Ray is better by FAR. He won’t shy from playing the homo card, but he doesn’t beat it to death.

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