Ray William Johnson runs a popular YouTube channel that has around 8.75 million subscribers and hit around 2.3 billion views total. Ray William Johnson’s YouTube show is called “=3” and due to his popularity, he has signed a script deal with FX Networks. Johnson had the most subscribed channel on YouTube for a period last year. He ran into a major contract dispute with Maker Studios and walked away from the multichannel network to set up his own production studio called Runaway Planet.
The reason why Johnson walked away from Maker Studios is because the multichannel network wanted a 40% share of his online channel’s AdSense revenue and 50% of the intellectual property rights of his show. Johnson said that Maker Studios used “thuggish tactics” to pressure him into signing a contract. He also pointed out that Maker Studios CEO Danny Zappin is a convicted felon. Zappin ended up admitted that he was indeed a felon for drug possession.
Assuming that Johnson’s project gets approved by FX, it would be another YouTube celebrity success story. Another YouTube celebrity that got a TV deal was Lucas Cruikshank (also known as Fred). Cruikshank made his voice high-pitched in all of his YouTube videos and then created similar content for Nickelodeon. Johnson’s =3 has been often compared to the Comedy Central show ‘Tosh.0,’ which focuses on viral videos being made fun of.
Johnson was born and raised in Oklahoma City. From there, he studied history at Columbia University. He started preparing for law school before launching his YouTube channel. His YouTube channel was even recognized by the Guinness World Records. Some of his celebrity guests on his program included Robin Williams, Gabriel Iglesias, Kal Penn, Bobby Lee, T.J. Miller, John Cho, Jason Biggs, RZA, and Sarah Silverman.
Below is Johnson’s most popular video called “Don’t Call Me Fat!!” with 24.08 million views: