Fred: The Movie - YouTube rentalFred: The Movie turned heads in the TV world, surprising some with its 7.6 million viewers for its first airing last month on Nickelodeon. It was the top cable TV movie of the year for the network, and the highest ever amongst kids under 11.

Now the movie is returning to the online network that made the faux six-year old Fred into an international star, and creator-actor Lucas Cruikshank a star along with it. The 82-minute film is now available for rental on YouTube, part of the site’s new movie rental program, at $3.99 for a 24-hour rental period. Will YouTube viewers shell out in numbers to actually pay for the short viewing window?

There are also some interesting questions to ponder now that the Cruikshank has essentially put his Fred character on the shelf. Nickelodeon has snatched him up with a TV holding deal that will next see him starring in his own half-hour TV comedy series Marvin, Marvin.

In some ways, Fred is really the first major poaching of a YouTube star to another network. The Fred channel has been slipping in the YouTube most-subscribed list from a firm #1 to its current spot at #3, and very close to getting passed by Shane Dawson this month.

So what now for the channel that still bears the Fred name? It still is one of just three channels to have over 2 million subscribers, and Cruikshank could probably use it to launch a new set of characters. The catch is however, that YouTube is incredibly strict about not allowing users to change the names of their channels once they have been registered. That leaves it with the highly recognizable, but polarizing Fred name unless YouTube eases up on its rules.

So in a new video blog—”My Favorite YouTube Videos” (below)—featured today by YouTube, Cruikshank fired up his lesser known lucas channel, in a sign that it may be where the young star focuses his efforts now. That channel has just 196,000 subscribers, which would need about 150k more to crack the top 100 list.

He also shared some advice that he may need to take to heart himself as he builds his audience for his personal channel. “I would say have fun making videos,” wrote Cruikshank. “There is a notion of getting famous overnight, but you need to be patient and love what you do. I was making videos since 2006 and two years later, it took off, and the videos got popular. You should focus on creativity, not just views or subscribers, and be passionate about it.”

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