Former Nickelodeon producer responds to 'Quiet on Set' docuseries: 'I am so sorry'

"Quiet on Set" included claims about the environment on many popular TV series.

March 20, 2024, 10:07 AM

Dan Schneider is responding to the allegations against him that were presented in the docuseries, "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV."

In an interview with former "iCarly" actor BooG!e, which was shared on Schneider's YouTube page, DanWarp, the former television creator addressed some of the accusations about him and said that the series made him feel "awful and regretful and sorry."

The four-part docuseries from Investigation Discovery, which released the episodes on Max on Sunday and Monday, focused on what some claim went on behind the scenes at some of the most popular Nickelodeon children's shows of the 1990s and early 2000s.

Dan Schneider attends Nickelodeon's "iParty With Victorious" screening at The Lot on June 4, 2011 in West Hollywood, Calif.
Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage via Getty Images, FILE

It includes interviews with former child stars on shows such as "All That" and "The Amanda Show" and explores claims about Schneider fostering a toxic work environment.

"I wish I could go back," he said. "Especially to those earlier years of my carer, and bring the growth and the experience that I have now and just do a better job and never, ever feel like it was okay to be an a------ ever."

'No writer should ever feel uncomfortable'

In his conversation with BooG!e, Schneider first addressed the accusations against him about the writer's room.

In the first two episodes of the docuseries, two female writers on "The Amanda Show" came forward and shared the uncomfortable experience they say they had working for Schneider at the time.

"No writer should ever feel uncomfortable in any writers' room, ever. Period," Schneider said. "Most TV writers, comedy writers, have been in writers' rooms and they are aware that a lot of times there are inappropriate jokes made and inappropriate topics come up."

"But the fact that I participated in that, especially when I was leading the room, it embarrasses me," he added. "I shouldn't have done it."

Schneider went on to share how when he started in television, his experience was "fantastic." So the fact that he didn't "pay it forward" to those who worked for him, "hurts my heart," he said.

"I wish I could go back and fix that," he said. "There's no doubt that sometimes those jokes went beyond the pale and I said things that went too far or made practical jokes that went too far. And that was wrong. And that was because I was an inexperienced producer. I was immature, wouldn't happen today."

'I have nothing to do with paying writers'

When it comes to the alleged pay discrepancy that was addressed on the show between some men and women writers, Schneider said he had "nothing to do with paying writers" and "never knew how much most of them are getting paid," but it was a common practice in television when hiring two writers for them to share the same salary so that they could "both have the job."

"If you have a spot for a new writer, sometimes you'll go to two writers and say, 'Hey, if you two new writers for your first job are willing to share a salary, you can both have the job,'" he explained. "They have the opportunity to say, 'Yes, that sounds good' or 'No. thank you.'"

"In this case, it was two women writers," Schneider said. "I've done another show where that teaming was done with two male writers and they split a salary. I did another show where it was a male and female writer and they split a salary."

'Some of the 'On Air Dares' went too far'

Another allegation that Schneider addressed from former stars on his shows, parents and former staff, was his use of inappropriate jokes on "All That" and "The Amanda Show."

"Every one of those jokes was written for a kid audience because kids thought they were funny," Schneider said. "Now, we have some adults looking back at them 20 years later through their lens, and they're looking at them and they're saying, 'I don't think that's appropriate for a kid show.' And I have no problem with that if that's how anyone feels. Let's cut those jokes out of the show."

"The last thing I want to ever do is put any content in a show that's going to upset my audience and make them want to turn off the TV. Why would I ever want to do that?" he added.

Schneider also addressed the "SNICK On Air Dares" that he created, a segment with the "All That" cast which was Nickelodeon's version of "Fear Factor" for kids. In the docuseries, parents called it inappropriate.

In an interview with ABC News correspondent Eva Pilgrim last week, former Nickelodeon star Bryan Hearne, who starred in Nickelodeon's "All That" in 2001, called the segment "torture moments for all of us."

"I think that some of the 'On Air Dares' went too far," Schneider said. "I think they pushed the envelope too far. Not all of them. Not most of them. But some did."

"I had no indication that any kid ever had a problem with them," he added. "But when I was watching the show over the past two nights, I now know that there were kids who did have problems with 'On Air Dares,' and it breaks my heart."

"I am so sorry to any kid who ever had to do a dare or anything that they didn't want to do or weren't comfortable doing," he said. "We went out of our way to make sure they were safe and that everything was done properly. But if a kid was scared and didn't want to do it, kids shouldn't have had to do it. Period. And if I had known at the time, I would have changed it on the spot."

'That was probably the darkest part of my career'

One of the biggest revelations that came to light in the docuseries was that former Nickelodeon star Drake Bell, who appeared on shows such as "All That" and "The Amanda Show" before starring in his own series, "Drake & Josh," from 2004 to 2007, said that he was the "John Doe" minor in the 2003 child sexual abuse case against his former dialogue coach Brian Peck.

Peck was arrested in 2003 and charged with 11 counts including "lewd acts with a child" and sexual abuse of a minor. He pleaded guilty to two of the counts and was sentenced to 16 months in prison. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender.

Actor Drake Bell (L) and creator of "Drake and Josh" Dan Schneider attend the after party for "Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh!" at the Westside Pavillion on Dec. 2, 2008 in Westwood, Calif.
Charley Gallay/WireImage via Getty Images, FILE

Bell said the abuse he experienced put him on a path of self-destruction, including two convictions for driving under the influence and a child endangerment conviction in 2021 for inappropriate online activity with a minor.

Schneider said he spoke to Bell and was "devastated by that more than anything that ever happened to me in my career thus far."

"That was probably the darkest part of my career," he added.

In a statement last week, Nickelodeon said it was "dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma [Bell] has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward."

In response to claims of hostile workplace environments, Nickelodeon told ABC News that while it "cannot corroborate or negate allegations of behaviors from productions decades ago, Nickelodeon as a matter of policy investigates all formal complaints as part our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace environment free of harassment or other kinds of inappropriate conduct," adding that it has "adopted numerous safeguards over the years to help ensure we are living up to own high standards and the expectations of our audience."

The former Nickelodeon creator, who parted ways with the television channel in 2018, ended his conversation with BooG!e by offering ways in which he would have done things differently on set.

"When you're hiring young actors, minors to work in television, I would suggest that we have a licensed therapist there to oversee that process, for this specific reason of making sure that those kids really wanted to do this job, but they really wanted to be on television," he said.

"Maybe they should even be informed about what that means," he continued. "What's it going to mean? If you're famous? What's that going to mean? On social media? What's it gonna mean within your family? Let them find out. And then that way, if a kid doesn't want to be on a TV show, they can opt-out."

"The main thing that I would change is how I treat people. And everyone," he added. "I definitely at times didn't give people the best of me, I didn't show enough patience, I could be cocky and definitely over-ambitious. And sometimes just straight-up rude and obnoxious. And I am so sorry, that I ever was."