ID series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV shines a bleak light on former Nickelodeon crew members

Quiet On Set - Courtesy ID
Quiet On Set - Courtesy ID /

Nickelodeon was the king of kids’ television in the mid-90s to mid-2000s, and Dan Schneider created most of the really big shows of the time. All That, The Amanda Show, Kenan & Kel, Drake & Josh, Zoe 101, iCarly, Victorious, Sam & Cat…Schneider wrote, produced an/or created all of these series, which were immensely popular with kids.

Now an ID docu-series called Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV has shone a very dark light on the experiences of many of the child stars who appeared in these shows. The allegations against Schneider are upsetting enough, but there were also at least three on-set employees entrusted with the well-being of these kids who were letter convicted as pedophiles.

Most of the biggest Nickelodeon stars did not participate in the doc, including Amanda Bynes, Miranda Cosgrove and Jamie Lynn Spears, but there was a shocking revelation by Drake Bell.

Here are the two biggest offenders according to Quiet on Set:

Dan Schneider – Schneider began his Nickelodeon career as writer-producer for All That and Kenan & Kel. His first huge hit was The Amanda Show, which starred Amanda Bynes, who had begun her career on All That.

Schneider and Bynes were extremely close, with many people categorizing their relationship as inappropriate, though Bynes has never made any allegations. He definitely played favorites, as several of the former child actors testify in the documentary.

Quiet on Set Bryan
Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV - Courtesy ID /

A lot has been said about some sexualized content in the shows, and there are a handful of clips shown in Quiet on Set that are extremely uncomfortable to watch. Arianna Grande appeared in Victorious and Sam & Cat, and there are three particularly cringe-inducing clips shown of her. In one, she sucks her own big toe, in another she squeezes a potato with both hands, trying to “juice” it, and in another, she is laying on her back with her head handing over the edge of the bed, pouring a bottle of water on herself. Yuck.

Schneider once hired two female writers, insisting that they share a salary (none of the male writers were asked to do the same). The women did not know at the time that this was against the rules of the Writers’ Guild. They and many other crew members recounted how Schneider would often request that a female crew member give him a message, usually when he was working on set.

By all accounts, he was on a power trip, sometimes randomly messaging a female crew member to shout out “I’m a slut” or other similar phrases. There are self-taped videos of him sneaking up on his teen actors and scaring them, or getting into their personal space.

Bryan Hearne, who was a cast member on All That recounted how often Schneider would write a skit that necessitated young actors wearing a bodysuit. In one case, Hearne was portraying “the world’s youngest rapper”, a fetus. He was made to wear a flesh-toned bodysuit, which he said he was not at all comfortable with. But, what’s a young actor to do? These kids wanted to make it big, and were afraid to speak up and be fired.

Emma Roberts, Jamie Lynn Spears, Dan Schneider - Producer
TCA Tour Cable - Day 3 / Frederick M. Brown/GettyImages

In the wake of the viral “Me Too” movement in 2018, Nickelodeon parted ways with Schneider, though he now downplays that.

Brian Peck – Peck was the dialogue coach for multiple Nickelodeon series, and worked closely with the kids on set. He took a special interest in young Drake Bell, who was a talented actor and musician. He transported Bell to auditions, attended many of his concerts, and the two often visited Disneyland together. Many times, Bell spent the night at Peck’s house, and on one of these occasions, the teen awoke as he was being sexually assaulted by Peck. He was 15 years old at the time.

The abuse continued, and one of the most gut wrenching moments on Quiet on Set is when Bell, now 37 years old, struggles to tell the story. “Imagine the worst thing someone could do to someone as sexual assault,” he says after a long pause. “I don’t know how else to put it.” He began coping with the trauma via substance abuse, and eventually spoke out.

Since Bell was still a minor, he was able to remain anonymous after telling his story. The young actors who worked with Peck were told about the accusation, but did not know who had come forward…and nobody else claimed to have been assaulted by him.

It is worth noting that Bell says Dan Schneider is the only one who contacted him after the story came out. He asked if Bell had been the one to report it, and apologized that this had happened to him. By all accounts, he was very supportive.

Ultimately, Brian Peck was found guilty, but only sentenced to 16 months in prison. Upon his release, Disney Channel hired him to do voice work on The Suite Life of Zack & Cody, though he was terminated when Disney Channel found out about his past (which…how could they NOT know??).

Many people know how Drake Bell’s story has played out. He did not receive therapy until recently, and it is likely the unresolved trauma that caused him to spiral. He was charged multiple times with driving under the influence, a former girlfriend accused him of abuse, and worst of all, he was arrested in 2021 for attempted endangering of children and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles. A 15-year-old fan received inappropriate messages from him (he was 31 at the time); he claimed that the messages stopped when he found out her real age.

There are so many more shocking revelations in Quiet on Set than we have discussed in this article. If you want to know more, the four-part docuseries can be streamed on Max.