Dan Schneider Went From Being Nickelodeon's Golden Boy to Accusations of Abuse — Where Is He Now?

"I definitely owe some people a pretty strong apology," he said.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

May 1 2024, Updated 6:17 p.m. ET

Dan Schneider
Source: Getty Images

Long before Dan Schneider was known as the creator of shows like Kenan & Kel, iCarly, and Zoey101, he was an actor. People of a certain age will definitely remember him as Dennis in Head of the Class, the snarky physics-loving student who had prime back-of-the-room seating next to what now looks like the world's first computer. The series was about a ragtag group of geniuses and the ex-hippy teacher who taught them that there was life outside of books.

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It's easy to imagine the person who embodied that character would then go on to solidify Nickelodeon as the place to be for kid and teen programming. Sadly, his legacy has been laced with controversy which led to Schneider and Nickelodeon parting ways in 2018 after a 25-year relationship. Where is Dan Schneider now? Here's what we know.

Where is Dan Schneider now? He was accused of abuse by former colleagues.

In June 2021, Schneider gave his first interview to The New York Times since semi-exiting his business partnership with Nickelodeon. According to the outlet, "[Schneider] declined to comment on the investigation. But he defended his leadership style, denied he left on bad terms, and described his departure as a natural confluence of events after an 'exhausting' period in which he delivered as many as 50 episodes of shows each year."

However, people who worked with him told a different story.

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Writer/producer Dan Schneider (C) accepts the Lifetime Achievement Award onstage with actors from his shows during Nickelodeon's 27th Annual Kids' Choice Awards March 2014
Source: Getty Images

Dan Schneider accepting the Lifetime Achievement Award during Nickelodeon's 27th Annual Kids' Choice Awards in March 2014

The New York Times also got in touch with four people who were interviewed by ViacomCBS, but who were legally allowed to discuss it. They denied seeing anything sexually inappropriate on set but did confirm he was verbally abusive. Schneider referred to this behavior as being "difficult," and attributed it to his "high standards."

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Arthur Gradstein wrote on four of Schneider's shows, and knew him pretty well. About his time working with Schneider, Gradstein said his experience was a "blast" but his boss was also "unreasonably demanding, controlling, belittling, and vindictive, with a willful disregard for boundaries or workplace appropriateness." (Funny how this sort of behavior is often spun as committed rather than what it is: damaging.)

Amid these allegations of abusive behavior, iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jeannette McCurdy released a memoir in 2022 that included details about her time working on Schneider's shows. Though she didn't name Schneider specifically, she referred to a head figure as "The Creator" who was "mean-spirited, controlling, and terrifying" and, among other things, had allegedly pressured her to drink. She also said Nickelodeon offered her "hush money" but that she didn't take it.

Schneider was not part of the iCarly revival, but he publicly wished the show well.

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Dan Schneider in 2011
Source: Getty Images

Dan Schneider in June 2011

Dan Schneider's alleged abuse is also addressed in an Investigation Discovery docuseries.

March 2024's four-part docuerseries Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV examines the toxic work culture of late '90s and early 2000s Nickelodeon TV shows, many of which were Schneider's. Former Nickelodeon talent such as Giovonnie Samuels, Kyle Sullivan, Bryan Hearne, and Katrina Johnson are featured in the docuseries as well as Jenny Kilgen and Christy Stratton, who wrote for The Amanda Show.

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Ahead of the docuseries' March 17, 2024 premiere, a spokesperson for Schneider released a statement to Variety, saying that "Dan cared about the kids on his shows even when sometimes their own families unfortunately did not. He understood what they were going through and he was their biggest champion. The fact is many of the kids on these shows are put in the untenable position of becoming the breadwinner for their family and the pressure that comes along with that. ... That is why there are many levels of standards, executives, lawyers, teachers, and parents everywhere, all the time, on every set, every day. However, it is still a hard place to be a kid and nobody knew that better than Dan."

After the first couple of episodes premiered — in which former associates and employees made claims of inappropriate jokes, sexism, and an abusive environment, among other things — Schneider's rep insisted (via The Hollywood Reporter) that "[e]verything that happened on the shows Dan ran was carefully scrutinized by dozens of involved adults, and approved by the network," and that executives on both coasts always had to give the OK."

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Soon after, Schneider's spokesperson said (via Deadline) that the producer "expected and asked a lot" of his employees and "understands why some employees found that intimidating or stressful," noting that Schneider is "truly sorry" for what some people experienced with him.

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Schneider then took to YouTube on March 19, 2024, to say he "definitely [owed] some people a pretty strong apology." He said that while watching the docuseries, he "could see the hurt in some people's eyes."

"I didn't show enough patience. I could be cocky and definitely overambitious and sometimes just straight up rude and obnoxious. I am so sorry that I ever was," he said.

Regarding inappropriate behavior in the writers' room that included asking female writers for massages, Schneider said, "I apologize to anybody that I ever put in that situation, and even additionally, I apologize to the people who were walking around video village or wherever they happened, because there were lots of people there who witnessed it who also may have felt uncomfortable."

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Schneider also addressed the part in the docuseries that focused on former child star Drake Bell, who was sexually abused by dialogue and acting coach Brian Peck. In the YouTube video, Schneider said he hadn't been the one to hire Peck, and that he had supported Bell at the time. (Bell mentioned this in the docuseries as well, noting that "really the only person that I remember being there for me was Dan.") Schneider tearfully recalled helping Bell's mom in a speech for the judge.

"That was probably the darkest part of my career," Schneider said.

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Dan Schneider is suing the producers of 'Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV'

In a lawsuit filed by attorneys on behalf of Schneider, he claims the Quiet on Set docuseries was a hit job, per Variety. "While it is indisputable that two bona fide child sexual abusers worked on Nickelodeon shows, it is likewise indisputable that Schneider had no knowledge of their abuse, was not complicit in the abuse, condemned the abuse once it was discovered and, critically, was not a child sexual abuser himself," says the lawsuit.

The court documents obtained by the outlet further state that Schneider's reputation was sullied by the accusations made in the series. It also states the docuseries was created for ratings, clickbait, and money.

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