LONDON — YouTube star KSI (aka KSIOlajideBT), who ranks in the top five most popular personalities among U.S. teens, has inked a deal with global entertainment company Endemol, whose TV shows include “Big Brother” and “Deal or No Deal.”
Gamer KSI (real name Olajide Olatunji), has drawn 9 million fans to his YouTube channels and amassed more than 1.28 billion views. In a recent poll by Variety, he ranked as the fourth most popular personality among U.S. teenagers, beating Hollywood film and music A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Katy Perry and Jennifer Lawrence.
KSI will appear in “Rule’m Sports,” a new show from the U.K. arm of Endemol’s global premium channel network Endemol Beyond. The show features KSI setting out to master five sporting disciplines over the course of a year, training alongside top sports people, such as athlete Louise Hazel, boxer Amir Khan and rugby player James Haskell.
KSI said: “The guys at Endemol Beyond said I was going to have loads of fun, but so far I’ve been knocked about by pro boxers and made to look crazy slow by some top athletes. Now they’re lining up some absolutely huge rugby guy for next season, and I’m starting to realize just what I’ve let myself in for.”
Available on YouTube, “Rule’m Sports” will feature more than 150 pieces of sports entertainment content over the next year.
Endemol Beyond U.K. director, Randel Bryan, said: “Not only is KSI one of the biggest YouTubers out there, he’s also one of the most entertaining, making him the perfect host for this truly unique digital sports channel.
“We also believe that ‘Rule’m Sports’ addresses a dramatic short-fall in sports and fitness content created solely for today’s connected youth.”
Endemol Beyond, which launched in late 2013, counts more than 290 million monthly views, and has struck partnerships with a host of star talent for original digital video content and channels. This has most recently included Hollywood A-listers such as rapper Pitbull and thesp Drea de Matteo (“The Sopranos,” “Desperate Housewives”), as well as YouTube stars, including rap sensation MattyB (over one billion views; 6.7 million followers), Vine comedian Brittany Furlan (over 7 million followers), and fashion and beauty pioneer Michelle Phan (over 6.8 million followers).