In some unexpected breaking news today, The New York Times is reporting that YouTube is in talks to acquire online video studio Next New Networks, according to two sources at the paper.

This is major news in the world of original web content, signaling the first major content acquisition by YouTube and validation that the number one video destination is in fact fully jumping into the content game. It would be a smart move picking up the network that gets some of the largest checks out of the YouTube partner program—estimated to be several million per year—due to its strong YouTube channels and shows like Auto-Tune the News, Indy Mogul, Key of Awesome and Barely Political.

In a recent email, NNN Co-founder Tim Shey pointed out how episodes from two of the studio’s web series—Auto-Tune the News and Key of Awesome—made YouTube’s Top 10 Most Watched Videos of 2010 list, also highlighting the astounding number of overall views (1.2 Billion) they racked in across their lineup this year.

While these two series were a big part of our success in 2010, they also capped a year where Next New Networks grew across the board, doing over 1.2 billion video views in 2010 alone. To put that in perspective, in July we announced that we had done 1 billion all-time views since launching in 2007. In 2010, our shows were viewed on average over 100 million times per month, more than the previous three years combined.

As of now neither Next New Networks or YouTube is not commenting on the reports of the deal.

(More updates to come…)