It’s been almost a decade since Lucas Cruikshank became the first YouTube celebrity with his Fred Figglehorn character. The squeaky-voiced character with anger management issues first appeared in a Halloween-themed video and 2006, and over the next few years would become the most subscribed YouTube channel at the time, and lead to spin-offs including a TV show on Nickelodeon.
It’s been a few years now since the last video, which has people wondering: What happened to Fred?
Fred Figglehorn – What Happened To Him?
Fred Figglehorn wasn’t the first character Cruikshank tried out. Through the summer of 2006, Lucas Cruikshank was working with his cousins Jon and Katie Smet on their YouTube channel, JKL Productions. They released several videos, though unfortunately none of them are available on that old channel.
On October 30, 2006, JKL Productions uploaded the first Fred video, called “Fred on Halloween.” The video established Fred Figglehorn as a character. Although Lucas was 13 in real life, his character was (and is, as the show uses a floating timeline) six years old. The character lives with his abusive mother and grandmother, though neither are shown on-screen for the first 3 seasons.
JKL Productions created several episodes over the next year, such as “Fred Goes to the Park” and “Fred Gets Babysat.” In later interviews, Cruikshank said that people either loved or hated Fred Figglehorn, but there was no in between. Most episodes consisted of Fred speaking directly to the camera about what is happening in his life, which Cruikshank has said is a parody of many early YouTubers who, in Cruikshank’s words, “think that everyone is so interested in them.”
After the eighth episode, the shows had gained enough viewers that Cruikshank migrated them onto their own channel. The channel was set up in 2008, and within a year had one million subscribers, making it the first YouTube channel to hit that landmark. Shortly before hitting that landmark, he appeared in an episode of Nickelodeon’s iCarly, “iMeet Fred.”
That September Nickelodeon helped him film Fred: the Movie, and he appeared in an episode of Hannah Montana a few months later. He was at both the 2009 and 2010 Kids Choice Awards as a presenter, as well. (Notably, Lucas Cruikshank has never won a YouTube Award, even though the Awards have been given since 2007.)
Two more Fred movies came out, Night of the Living Fred in 2011 and Camp Fred in 2012, and Cruikshank even had a show on Nickelodeon for one season that year, which marked the end of the main Fred series on YouTube. However, three “sequel” series have been produced. Figgle Chat had him interviewing Internet celebrities, It’s FRED! Was a short animated series, and the New Fred Saga, where Cruikshank’s YouTube channel was fictitiously taken over by a Korean chaebol.
Despite being out of production, the Fred channel on YouTube continues to rack up subscribers and views. However, in the modern era of YouTube stars, the videos and their production quality, have not aged well.
What Is Lucas Cruikshank Doing Now in 2018?
After Fred: The Show ended in late 2012, Lucas Cruikshank almost immediately secured another show on the network. Marvin Marvin cast Cruikshank as the title character, a teenage alien boy attempting to adjust to life on Earth. After low ratings, the show was cancelled after one season.
Since then, Cruikshank has been releasing videos on his own channel, simply called Lucas. Lucas has more than 1.8 million subscribers, and mostly hosts video blogs produced by Lucas and his friends. One of the most well-known videos from the Lucas channel came out in 2013, when Cruikshank answered the popular question of his sexuality. He confirmed that he was gay, and almost immediately turned to his friend Jennifer Veal and asked why she didn’t have to make a video saying she was straight.
Lucas Cruikshank continues to produce content for YouTube, releasing a new video every Wednesday and Sunday. Recent videos have shown him testing traditionally feminine products like tampons and bras, making a gelatin latte, and he’s even brought back the Fred character for a few choice videos, like the squeaky-voiced child trying online dating.
While the Internet might have moved on from Fred’s antics, Cruikshank’s intellectual property and the franchise it spawned helped redefine how traditional media approached YouTube, and just like Fred, people either love it or hate it.