The Darker Side of Children’s TV

The Darker Side of Childrens TV

Dan Schnieder is a well-known television producer and writer, best known for his work on Nickelodeon shows like Victorious, Sam and Cat, and Drake & Josh. He created and produced many teen sitcoms that became very popular among teens and children. Recently, multiple child actors who worked with Dan Schnieder have come forward, revealing allegations of abusive behavior towards them and other crew members. This article will expose the terrible behavior committed by Dan Schnieder and other adult figures, such as Brian Peck. If you are sensitive about things such as child abuse, sexual assault, sexism in the work place, etc, proceed with caution. This is also a disclaimer that Josh Peck and Brian Peck are not related for any of those who may get confused later on in the article.

What is “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV”?

Ex-Nickelodeon producer Dan Schnieder on the set of ICarly. Miranda Cosgrove (Carly) on the left and Jennette McCurdy (Sam) on the right.

This is a documentary shown over four episodes that has recently been aired on March 17th on HBO Max, with plenty of the Nickelodeon cast and crew either sharing their personal working experiences with Dan Schnieder, or those who had seen or been around what he was doing to some of his cast and crew. In this documentary it unfolds the allegations against Dan Schnieder of abuse, sexism, racism, and overall inappropriate and unprofessional behavior between him and his cast and crew. Not even two days after the release of this documentary, Dan Schnieder released a YouTube video of him speaking out about how he was exposed for everything he’s done. He “admitted” that he felt “…it was wrong [if I] ever put anyone in that position”. However, further into the video, he shut down the allegations in the documentary made of him creating a hostile work environment and claimed they were just “practical jokes that went too far.” Nickelodeon since then has begun an investigation but has put out there that they “…cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors of productions decades ago.”

Drake Bell and his story

Drake Bell on the documentary speaking out. He is in episode 3.

A notable actor who spoke out about the extensive abuse he endured during his time working with Nikelodeon was Drake Bell, who was on  the hit show Drake & Josh. He believed that he had “No way out. The abuse was extreme and got pretty brutal.” However, the abuse was done to him by Brian Peck, someone who publicly defends Dan Schnieder. Brian Peck is a convicted child molester who was a dialogue coach on The Amanda Show. In part of the documentary Drake finally revealed how he was the anonymous “John Doe” whose accounts of abuse led to the conviction and arrest of Brian Peck in 2003. Nickelodeon has released a statement in which they explained how they did not know Drake Bell was the anonymous “John Doe”, stating: “Now that Drake Bell has disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 200[3] case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength to come forward”. Drake has talked in the documentary about how he and Brian Peck became good friends initially while filming because they had a lot of the same interests in Old Hollywood. Drake’s father, who had no idea that this was happening, explained that he always had an iffy feeling about Brian Peck and how he was around Drake too much. There was one specific encounter that was very off-putting to his father: “Drake would be in the dressing room or something, and in would pop Brian, and just touch Drake, you know, do things that, wait a second. What are you doing? Drake can put that on himself”. There were routine encounters that would be very off-putting to people, such as Brian Peck putting his arm around Drake’s waist or running his hands down Drake’s arm.

Screen shot of Josh Peck, Drakes co-star in Drake & Josh, publicy speaking out about his support Drake Bell on the new documentary. This was posted days after the release of the documentary.

Brian Peck began intentionally driving a wedge between Drake Bell and his dad, saying that his dad has been stealing his money and no one on set likes him. Essentially convincing Drake that his dad was ruining his career when in reality, Brian knew Drake’s dad was aware of the monster he was. Brian Peck went as far as to convince Drake’s mom to cut all business ties with his father as Drake’s parents had been divorced for many years at this point. Peck later persuaded his mom to let Drake stay at his house, where, unfortunately, the physical and sexual abuse started. Drake vividly recalled his first encounter with sexual abuse. “I was sleeping on the couch where I would usually sleep, and I woke up to him—I opened my eyes, I woke up, and he was—he was sexually assaulting me”. He was afraid of telling his mother, and it wasn’t until he got into a relationship that his girlfriend’s mom realized something off-putting about his relationship with Brian Peck and took Drake to her family therapist. Once Drake’s mom found out, she immediately contacted the police, where an investigation began and the conviction of Brian Peck was made. In the courtroom, Drake recalled no one being on his side of the court room except for his immediate family; however, Brian’s side was filled. 

It is also worthy of noting that Drake Bell said that none of the 41 other famous or relevant figures in Hollywood or the media who wrote letters vouching for Brian Peck during the trial have reached out to him since the airing of the documentary. He explains how he hasn’t “…gotten an apology, or a sorry, from anybody that had written letters, or was involved in supporting [Brian] at all”. Drake further explains how these people were producers, directors, and his bosses. He was surrounded by people who should’ve helped him get safe but instead supported his abuser. A little excerpt from one of the letters flat out said, “[Brian] Peck was never inappropriate in any way”. It is terrible that other adults were condoning his behavior.

Speaking out

Alongside Drake, there were several other actors who spoke out after the release of the documentary, including Alexa Nikolas from Zoey 101, where she said she would’ve appreciated an apology from Dan Schnieder and that she doesn’t and will not ever forgive him as he “was playing the sympathy card, centering himself, and playing the victim”.

Angelique Bates from All That did not speak out on the documentary, but on Instagram, she made a post where she wrote, “For those that spoke their truth, nothing but love & light. I still have no regrets in declining to participate. Certain stories hurt my heart. And I pray that you are able to heal”.

Nancy Sullivan, from Drake & Josh and The Amanda Show, who played Drake’s mom on Drake & Josh and publicly expressed that “They weren’t [her] real kids, but [she’ll] always love them. It broke [her] heart into a million pieces to show just how much Drake was holding inside while [they] were working together. [She] was both devastated and proud seeing the man he’s grown into sit down and camera and bravely tell his truth”.

Jack Salvatore Jr. from Zoey 101 posted an Instagram video where he exposed several things that were pretty troubling regarding Dan Schnieder, but what he really wanted to emphasize was “never letting this stuff happen again”. He was scared to post that video online as it could ruin his career, but he believed it needed to be said.

Raquel Lee Bolleau from The Amanda Show, was both in the documentary and posted on Instagram after the release. She had said that although she wanted to be part of the documentary because all of those events had caused her pain, she was still scared because she thought people wouldn’t want to work with her after.

Although others have spoken out since the documentary aired, sharing their support for the victims or just sharing their stories as well, there were many who chose to stay silent, like actress Victoria Justice from Victorious. However, what was done to her is still out there and known.

Dan Schnieder & Victoria Justice

Dan Schnieder hugging Victoria Justice while they were both working on the TV show Victorious. She was on Victorious for 4 seasons.

Victoria Justice was known for playing Tori Vega in the hit TV show Victorious, and it was quite noticeable that she was getting less screen time as the show progressed, which was solely because she refused to get intimate with her boss, Dan Schnieder. It is a known fact that Dan Schnieder would try to be inappropriate with all of his younger female actresses and threaten them when they would not oblige. Victoria Justice was one of those who did not listen and fought back. In return, Dan Schnieder would say awful things about her to other producers and directors, so no one would want to work with her further damaging her career. It was allegedly claimed that he would say she was hard to work with and oftentimes acted like a brat. In reality, she was not giving into the terrible demands from Dan. In clips, you can see some of the male figures on set, such as the actor who plays Andre in Victorious, doing their best to keep Victoria Justice and other female actresses away from Dan Schnieder in public surroundings.

Although we all grew up loving and watching these shows on Nickelodeon we all have to acknowledge that although these shows made our childhoods, there was a price to be paid by the child actors. It broke their childhood, and they are still trying to mend themselves. If you or someone you know is going through something similar, text “STRENGTH” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

Work Cited

Dan Schneider talks about Quiet on Set. (n.d.). Retrieved April 12, 2024, from

Drake Bell details childhood sexual abuse by Nickelodeon dialogue coach. (n.d.).

Everything Nickelodeon stars are saying about “Quiet on Set.” (n.d.).

James Marsden, Alan Thicke, more wrote letters of support for convicted child abuser Brian Peck. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2024, from

Mary Robertson, E. Schwartz (Executive producers)(2024-present) Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV [Tv series] Maxine Productions; Sony Pictures Television Nonfiction, Business Insider

The Quiet on Set documentary comes out in Australia today. Here’s why the series made headlines and how to watch – ABC News. (n.d.). Retrieved April 8, 2024, from

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