IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Dan Schneider responds to ‘Quiet on Set’ allegations in new video

A new docuseries on Investigation Discovery features former Nickelodeon stars and employees alleging a toxic work environment on shows helmed by Schneider.
Dan Schneider
A new docuseries examines allegations of a toxic workplace under former Nickelodeon writer and producer Dan Schneider, shown here accepting the lifetime achievement award at the 27th annual Kids' Choice Awards in 2014.Matt Sayles / Invision / AP
/ Source: TODAY

Former Nickelodeon producer and television creator Dan Schneider is apologizing in a new video for his decades-long behavior on his sets following the recent release of a four-part docuseries that highlighted the allegedly hostile work environment he created.

Schneider, who brought the children's network success with a string of hits like "All That" and "iCarly" from the late 1990s into the 2010s, is known for also shepherding child actors like Ariana Grande and Amanda Bynes to stardom.

However, the new four-part docuseries “Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV,” which aired on Investigation Discovery on March 17 and 18, features former child actors and writers from hit Nick shows behind-the-scenes bad behavior on shows helmed by Schneider.

The former Nickelodeon producer does not appear in the docuseries, but in a new video released on his YouTube page on March 19, he responds to many of the allegations and specifically apologizes for some of his behaviors.

"The main thing that I would change is how I treat people and everyone," Schneider tells the former "iCarly" cast member interviewing him, BooG!e (born Bobby Bowman). "I definitely at times didn’t give people the best of me. I didn’t show enough patience I could be cocky and definitely overambitious and sometimes just straight-up rude and obnoxious and I am so sorry that I ever was."

Schneider said he watched "Quiet on Set" and "could see the hurt in some people’s eyes and it made me feel awful and regretful and sorry."

"I wish I could go back ... and just do a better job and never ever feel like it was OK to be an a--hole to anyone, ever," he concludes.

"If I could go back I would get it done in different ways. I’d just be nicer as often as possible and listen more to the people on my team and I would do everything that I could to make sure that everyone had a good experience."

Here’s what to know about Schneider’s ascension to prominence in children’s television, his split with Nickelodeon and the accusations examined in the docuseries.

What is Dan Schneider’s background?

Schneider, 58, grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, before moving to Los Angeles and becoming an actor.

He started his career in front of the camera with roles in slapstick ‘80s teen comedies like “Making the Grade,” “The Big Picture,” and the cult 1985 John Cusack classic “Better Off Dead.”

Dan Schneider and Howard Hesseman
Dan Schneider (left) was part of the cast of the ABC hit sitcom "Head of the Class" in the late 1980s. ABC via Getty Images

One of his most well-known roles was that of wise-cracking computer genius Dennis Blunden on the ABC sitcom “Head of the Class” from 1986-91. The show featured a group of gifted students in a program under “WKRP in Cincinnati” star Howard Hesseman.

What shows did Dan Schneider work on for Nickelodeon?

Schneider’s first experience with Nickelodeon came as a co-host for the 1988 Kids’ Choice Awards on the network, according to The New York Times.

He then moved behind the camera and was part of his first hit as the producer and writer of the kids’ sketch comedy show “All That,” which launched the careers of several stars who soon had their own shows.

Schneider moved on after four seasons to helm “The Amanda Show,” starring Amanda Bynes. He also was an executive producer and writer in the mid-’90s for “Kenan & Kel,” which helped launch the career of “Saturday Night Live” star Kenan Thompson. Schneider also wrote “Good Burger,” the 1997 movie starring Thompson and Kel Mitchell that became a cult hit.

In 2004, Schneider created the Nickelodeon show “Drake & Josh,” starring Drake Bell, who appears in the Investigation Discovery docuseries.

Schneider followed that by creating the teen sitcom “Zoey 101,” starring Jamie Lynn Spears, the younger sister of pop megastar Britney Spears, as well as “iCarly,” about teen Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove), who stars in her own online show.

iCarly's Miranda Cosgrove Celebrates Her 19th Birthday
Schneider shown in 2012 celebrating the 19th birthday of "iCarly" star Miranda Cosgrove with castmates. Charley Gallay / WireImage

He also co-created another hit for Nickelodeon, the 2014 show “Henry Danger.”

In addition to his work behind the scenes, Schneider often popped up in small roles onscreen in many of his shows.

Why did Dan Schneider and Nickelodeon stop working together?

In 2018, Nickelodeon announced it was parting ways with Schneider after 20-plus years of working with the network. “Both sides agreed that this is a natural time for Nickelodeon and Schneider’s Bakery to pursue other opportunities and projects,” Nickelodeon’s statement said in part at the time.

Before his departure, ViacomCBS, the parent company of Nickelodeon, investigated him and found no evidence of sexual misconduct, but did hear complaints that he was verbally abusive to staff, according to a 2021 report by The New York Times. ViacomCBS launched this investigation due to “internet chatter that trafficked in innuendo about the appropriateness of Schneider’s presence in the world of children’s entertainment,” the Times report reads.

When interviewed by the Times at the time, Schneider declined to comment on the investigation but defended his leadership and denied departing on bad terms.

“I took a break to take care of a lot of stuff that I’d let go by the wayside for decades,” Schneider told the Times.

Ahead of the ID documentary’s release, a representative for Schneider denied that he was overly harsh to his staff.

“Dan has said himself that he was a tough boss to work for and, if he could do things over again, he would act differently,” a spokesperson for Schneider told NBC News. “But let’s be clear, when Dan departed Nickelodeon, a full investigation was done and again, all that was found is that he was a challenging, tough and demanding person to work for and with, nothing else.”

What does the ‘Quiet on Set’ allege happened on the set of Dan Schneider’s shows?

The docuseries further investigates allegations about a toxic workplace under Schneider that were detailed in a 2022 story by Business Insider. (It was produced by Maxine Productions and Sony Pictures Television - Nonfiction, in association with Business Insider.) The show features interviews with actor Drake Bell, two former female writers who worked with Schneider, and other former Nickelodeon employees.

Bell alleges that he was sexually abused by his former acting and dialogue coach, Brian Peck, who worked with Schneider on “All That” and “The Amanda Show,” according to the docuseries.

Peck was arrested in 2003, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. He pleaded no contest to charges of lewd act upon a child and oral copulation of a person under 16. He served a year in jail and was made to register as a sex offender. Bell says in the docuseries that he was the unnamed minor in the case who was abused.

Alexa Nikolas, who was an actor on “Zoey 101,” says in the docuseries that she felt uncomfortable being put in sexually suggestive scenarios on the show.

“Every scene was approved by the network and these shows are all still being aired today,” a spokesperson for Schneider told NBC News. “If there was an actual problem, they would be taken down, but they air constantly all over the world, enjoyed by kids and parents.”

In his March 19 video, Schneider responded to allegations the jokes were inappropriate for children and said he would be happy to cut the sketches in question going forward.

"Those jokes (were) written for a kid audience because kids thought they were funny and only funny, OK?" he 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 'Oh you know, 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 — just like I would have done 20 years ago."

He went on to say he wants his shows to be "popular, I want everyone to like them."

"The more people who like the shows, the happier I am so if there’s anything in a show that needs to be cut because it’s upsetting somebody let’s cut it," Schneider said. "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?"

The documentary went into details of alleged workplace dynamics off-camera, too.

Jenny Kilgen and Christy Stratton, two writers on “The Amanda Show,” allege in the docuseries that Schneider would regularly ask female crew for massages and subject them to sexual jokes. Kilgen later sued Storybook Productions, which produced “The Amanda Show,” for gender discrimination, saying Schneider denied her equal pay, per NBC News. The lawsuit was settled for an undisclosed amount, according to the ID documentary.

Schneider said he had no control over staff salaries on the show in a statement that airs in the docuseries. In his March 19 response video, he reiterated that he had "nothing to do with paying writers."

"I’ve never made a writer’s deal and of all the writers I’ve been in a writer’s room with, I never even knew how much most of them were getting paid," he said. Schneider added that it is "a common practice" in scripted television to offer two new writers a job if they split the salary.

"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 said. "They have the opportunity to say 'Yes, that sounds good' or 'No, no thank you' (and) in this case it was two women writers."

Schneider went on to say that he'd worked in other writers' rooms where the people splitting salaries were two men or one woman and one man.

He also apologized, without naming Kilgen and Stratton, for making people uncomfortable in his writers' rooms.

"No writer should ever feel uncomfortable in any writer’s room ever. Period, the end, no excuses," he said in the video. "Most TV writers, comedy writers have been in writer rooms and they are aware that a lot of times there are inappropriate jokes made and inappropriate topics come up uh but the fact that I participated in that especially when I was leading the room, it embarrasses me I shouldn’t have done it."

What does Dan Schneider do now?

Schneider said in a 2021 interview with The New York Times that he was “set on returning to television and reintroducing his brand of comedy to new audiences.” His IMDb page notes that a “Henry Danger” movie is upcoming, and he is listed as a writer and producer. No other projects have been announced.

Schneider was also once active on X, formerly Twitter, and Instagram. He has not posted on X since 2019, and his most recent Instagram and Facebook posts were in October 2023 to mourn the death of “Friends” star Matthew Perry.