If you love Nickelodeon shows and are eager for the upcoming iCarly reboot, you probably recognize the name Dan Schneider. For more than 15 years, he was one of the most influential producers at the network, creating hit after kid-friendly hit. But in 2018, Nickelodeon suddenly cut ties with the producer, and people have wondered if it was due to Schneider’s alleged inappropriate (and creepy!) behavior. So what really happened? Here’s our investigation.
Dan Schneider Created Some Of Nickelodeon’s Most Iconic Shows
Schneider started out as an actor and appeared in a number of popular TV shows and movies in the 1980s, including Head of the Class, Better Off Dead, and The Big Picture. But it was behind the camera where Schneider truly excelled. After working as an executive producer and writer for All That and Kenan & Kel, he created a slew of massively popular Nickelodeon series, including The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, iCarly, Victorious, and Henry Danger.
“There is no special process I have for thinking of new shows,” Schneider said of his talent for creating hits in a 2015 interview with Campaign US. “After I get one going, I start thinking about what the next one could be. And eventually, something just comes to mind. Sometimes I’ll get inspired to spin off some element of a show I’m doing into a new series. Or sometimes the spark will come from an actor, or pair of actors. And sometimes it’s just an idea I’ll have from watching the pop culture wheels spin around. I guess it’s like writing songs, or books, or creating anything. When I finish creating one, I start thinking, ‘Next … ‘”
Schneider also had a knack for discovering young talent. He’s helped launch the careers of some pretty big stars, including Amanda Bynes, Jamie Lynn Spears, Ariana Grande, Victoria Justice, and Miranda Cosgrove. “I look for kids who have a lot of talent, but also kids who are very real,” Schneider said in a 2011 interview with The Commercial Appeal. “I don’t like the overly trained, precocious type with Hollywood moms who have taken them to lessons since they were three.”
Back in 2009, Cosgrove told The Washington Post why she thought Schneider was so good at his job. “He knows what kids like,” she said. “It’s really difficult — it’s harder than people think: to make kids laugh but not insult them. He’s really good at that…. He’ll even put in things [in scripts] that we say or tell him.”
Dan Schneider And Nickelodeon Parted Ways In 2018
When Nickelodeon announced that they were parting ways with Schneider, they released a joint statement with the producer that made it sound as if the decision was mutual.
“Following many conversations together about next directions and future opportunities, Nickelodeon and our long-time creative partner Dan Schneider/Schneider’s Bakery have agreed to not extend the current deal. Since several Schneider’s Bakery projects are wrapping up, both sides agreed that this is a natural time for Nickelodeon and Schneider’s Bakery to pursue other opportunities and projects.”
The network also sang the producer’s praises and wished him well, saying: “We thank Dan and his Schneider’s Bakery producers, executives and social media team for their immeasurable contributions to Nickelodeon, and we wish them the best in their future endeavors. And Dan and Schneider’s Bakery are proud of the work they did together with Nickelodeon and will always remain big fans of the network.”
But despite these kind words, rumors swirled that there were other reasons for Schneider’s departure. Some sources said the producer had a history of inappropriate and abusive behavior on set, and that he was given a $7 million payout to leave the network. Other insiders claimed Schneider was the victim of a smear campaign and that, while he could get angry and lose his temper while at work, was never inappropriate with the young stars on his show.
Outside of the reasons given in the joint statement, we can’t say for sure why Nickelodeon and Schneider went their separate ways. But many people behind the scenes believe that the producer’s negative behavior was at least partially responsible for the split.
The Nickelodeon Producer Allegedly Had Anger Issues
Reportedly, Schneider’s temper issues have been common knowledge among insiders for a long time. As Deadline co-editor-in-chief, Nellie Andreeva, wrote:
“Schneider has had well documented temper issues for years. I hear there was a flareup last week during a meeting he had with Nickelodeon executives where they indicated to him that Game Shakers was not getting renewed for a fourth season. Sources say that Schneider’s reaction was, at least in part, due to the fact that Game Shakers was about to wrap production on its third season the following day with a cliffhanger season finale, which would leave fans without closure.”
Additionally, Jennette McCurdy (a.k.a. Sam from iCarly) has been open about her struggles as a child actor on a hit show. She even described her experiences as “psychologically traumatic” in a now-deleted section in her website bio (according to Newsweek). McCurdy also did not return for the iCarly reboot and said she dislikes the shows she worked on as a kid. On a recent episode of her podcast, Empty Inside, the former actress admitted:
“I’m so ashamed of the parts I’ve done in the past. I resent my career in a lot of ways,” she said. “I feel so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most cheesy, embarrassing. I did the shows that I was on from like 13 to 21, and by 15, I was already embarrassed.”
While McCurdy has never specifically pointed a finger at Schneider and blamed him for her difficult experiences, we know that the producer was always on set and had a major influence on how the show was run. McCurdy’s tales of woe certainly fuel speculation that Dan Schneider’s shows were not a fun or emotionally healthy place for young stars to work.
Many People Accused Dan Schneider Of Having An Inappropriate Foot Fetish
In her article for Deadline, Andreeva said that “Schneider had been under a cloud of suspicion over the treatment of some younger stars of his shows. Among the things that have raised eyebrows are his tweeted photos of the toes of his young female stars.”
Viewers pointed out how frequently his shows had plotlines focused on feet and a now-deleted Tweet from a person saying she was an extra on The Amanda Show claimed that Schneider paid her $100 to tickle her feet!
One eagle-eyed fan even flagged an official Tweet from one of Schneider’s shows, Sam & Cat, which called for fans to send in pictures of their feet. And it’s still up!
What Is Dan Schneider Doing Now?
Since his split from Nickelodeon three years ago, Schneider hasn’t worked on any high-profile projects. He’s not involved in the eagerly anticipated iCarly reboot, which is set to premiere on Paramount+ on June 17th.
The 55-year-old actor and producer does post regularly on Instagram, however his content is usually focused on his old shows and the actors he has worked with in the past. Whatever he’s up to, we hope he’s doing well (and not obsessing over teenager’s feet).