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Dan Schneider, Others React To IG docuseries

TV Producer Dan Schneider has issued another response to an Investigation Discovery docuseries that uncovers the toxic and dangerous culture on the sets of his Nickelodeon children’s shows in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The first two installments that dropped Sunday were meant to reveal “an insidious environment rife with allegations of abuse, sexism, racism, and inappropriate dynamics with its underage stars and crew,” according to ID.

The next two episodes air tonight.

“Everything that happened on the shows Dan ran was carefully scrutinized by dozens of involved adults, and approved by the network,” according to a new statement. “Had there been any scenes or outfits that were inappropriate in any way, they would have been flagged and blocked by this multilayered scrutiny. Remember, all stories, dialogue, costumes, and makeup were fully approved by network executives on two coasts. A standards and practices group read and ultimately approved every script, and programming executives reviewed and approved all episodes. In addition, every day on every set, there were always parents and caregivers and their friends watching filming and rehearsals.”

Previously, Schneider released this statement after a trailer for the docuseries dropped: “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. Add on top of that the difficulties of growing up and having to do so under the spotlight while working a demanding job, all as a child. 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.”

In the docuseries, writers Jenny Kilgen and Christy Stratton expose allegations of a toxic and sexist environment in The Amanda Show writer’s room. Alexa Nikolas offers insight into being a part of Zoey 101. The docuseries also features additional cast and crew from iCarlySam & CatVictorious, and Marc Summers from the popular game show Double Dare. The series also includes emotional testimony from parents of cast members who attempted to advocate for their children on these sets.

The project has already generated strong reactions on X, starting with this one from his former assistant Amy Berg (whose Nickelodeon predated any allegations against him).

The docuseries features interviews, woven with archival footage (some of which has never been broadcast) and scenes from the shows and social media commentary.

Nickelodeon parted ways with Schneider in 2018 after multiple complaints of abusive behavior from members of his staff.

In a 2021 interview with The New York Times, Schneider said if he was found to be difficult by some people, it was because he has “high standards. I’m very willing to defend creative things that I believe in.” 

Schneider also told the Times he never acted inappropriately with people with whom he worked. “I couldn’t, and I wouldn’t have the long-term friendships and continued loyalty from so many reputable people if I’d mistreated my actors of any age, especially minors,” he said.

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