Drake Bell, Dan Schneider, and More React to Bombshell Nickelodeon Docuseries

When codirectors Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz dove into making Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV, an Investigation Discovery docuseries about alleged abuse and exploitation at kids’ network Nickelodeon, they created a list of names. “We literally put together a spreadsheet,” Schwartz recently told Vanity Fair. “We called everybody we could find on IMDb who had been in crew, who had been in cast, and just people across the industry. You talk to more people and talk to more people. Taking time to build a relationship, to build trust, to get to know people and understand what’s important to them.”

Among those who spoke to the filmmakers were former child star Drake Bell, who in between roles on Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show and Drake & Josh says he suffered sexual abuse at the hands of his vocal coach Brian Peck, whom he met on set. When asked to get into specifics about the abuse, Bell suggested that someone might “think of the worst stuff that someone could do to somebody as a sexual assault—and that’ll answer your question.” In October 2004, Peck was convicted on sexual abuse charges, sentenced to 16 months in prison, and ordered to register as a sex offender.

By sharing his story, Bell joins former Nick stars like Alexa Nikolas (who also appears in the series) and Jennette McCurdy in publicizing alleged wrongdoing at the network that gave them their big breaks. The four-part series, which launches into Bell’s account with the final two episodes airing tonight on ID at 9 p.m., has already sparked statements from the likes of Nickelodeon mega-producer Dan Schneider, who is no stranger to toxicity allegations. Ahead, some of the reactions to the bombshell docuseries.


Nickelodeon previously said in a statement to Vanity Fair that it “investigates all complaints as part of our commitment to fostering a safe and professional workplace” and that it has “adopted numerous safeguards over the years.” In an additional comment to Deadline, the network directly addressed the abuse allegations made by one of its biggest stars. “Now that Drake Bell has disclosed his identity as the plaintiff in the 2004 case, we are dismayed and saddened to learn of the trauma he has endured, and we commend and support the strength required to come forward,” Nickelodeon said in a statement.

Dan Schneider

The name on nearly every documentary participant’s lips is Dan Schneider, who created a bevy of hit shows for Nickelodeon and faced numerous complaints of a hostile work environment during his tenure. In 2018, Nickelodeon cut business ties with Schneider. In a previous statement, Schneider told VF that reports of his abusive behavior in publications such as Deadline were not to blame for the parting of ways. However, he maintains: “I would absolutely do some things differently. I’ve learned a lot over the years about how to be a better boss.” As for allegations in Quiet on Set about imbuing his children’s shows with subliminal adult sexuality, Schneider also denied those claims. “Everything that happened on the shows I ran was scrutinized by dozens of involved adults,” he said in a statement. “A standards and practices group read and ultimately approved every script, and programming executives reviewed and approved all episodes.”

Schneider’s representative offered a similar statement to Variety about the series, adding, “If there was an actual problem with the scenes that some people, now years later are ‘sexualizing,’ they would be taken down, but they are not, they are aired constantly all over the world today still, enjoyed by both kids and parents.” The statement also maintained that “every day on every set, there were always parents and caregivers and their friends watching filming and rehearsals,” adding, “Had there been any scenes or outfits that were inappropriate in any way, they would have been flagged and blocked by this multilayered scrutiny. Unfortunately, some adults project their adult minds onto kids’ shows, drawing false conclusions about them.”

In the docuseries, some note Schneider’s habit of asking employees (many of them female) for massages while on set. “Dan deeply regrets asking anyone for neck massages,” his team said in response to Variety. “Though they happened in public settings, he knows this was highly inappropriate and would never happen again.”

Russell Hicks

The network’s former president of content and production referred to Schneider as “one of the most prolific producers of hit television in the kids and family entertainment business,” in his own statement to Variety. “Dan’s shows transcend children’s television and are staples on many streaming platforms today, enjoyed by both kids and their parents,” the statement continued. “Dan cared about the kids on his shows even when sometimes their own families unfortunately did not.” Hicks concluded that “every single thing that Dan ever did on any of his shows was carefully scrutinized and approved by executives at Nickelodeon.”

Amy Berg

Amy Berg, who has gone on to write and produce for shows including Jack Ryan and Law & Order: Organized Crime, reflected on her first Hollywood job—as Schneider’s assistant—in a statement posted to X on Monday. It was a title she held for less than a year before writing and co-executive producing the final seasons of the Nickelodeon series, Kenan & Kel and All That. “During my year with Dan, I wasn’t aware of any physically inappropriate behavior,” Berg writes. “What I can confirm, however, is that he was a fucking asshole. A psychological tormenter. He introduced me to panic attacks and the stress of working for him caused me to develop a significant heart arrhythmia. I eventually had surgery to [mostly] correct the issue, but by that point I’d lost all of my 20s. He stole those years from me.” 

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