Child Actors That Put Nickelodeon On Blast

Several of the most instantly recognizable shows on Nickelodeon — "All That," "The Amanda Show," "Drake & Josh," "Zoey 101," "iCarly," "Victorious," "Sam & Cat," "Henry Danger," "Game Shakers" — all came from the mind of the same man: Dan Schneider. The producer's partnership with the network was, by all accounts, a successful one. At least, until 2018 hit.

That's when rumors began to swirl about Schneider's supposed abusive and inappropriate behavior on set, and ViacomCBS conducted an investigation. As The New York Times noted, people who'd worked with him in the past alleged he was "a controlling, difficult showrunner, prone to tantrums and angry emails." (He denied the allegations to The New York Times.) In March 2018, Nickelodeon parted ways with Schneider and his production company, telling Deadline, "Since several Schneider's Bakery projects are wrapping up, both sides agreed that this is a natural time for Nickelodeon and Schneider's Bakery to pursue other opportunities and projects."

But Schneider's alleged antics aren't the only thing network employees have complained about over the years. Some Nickelodeon alumni have alluded to behind-the-scenes drama, and others have said they didn't always enjoy the gig. Here's a list of four former child actors who put their time on Nickelodeon on blast.

Ariana Grande

You may have forgotten pop princess Ariana Grande originally rose to fame as Cat Valentine, a sweet but ditzy high school student who had eye-catching red hair, on the Nickelodeon series "Victorious" and "Sam & Cat." The comedies brought the jokes, but it sounds like there weren't always laughs behind the scenes.

For starters, Grande told People in 2014 that while her Nickelodeon stint had been "a childhood dream come true" it "was also a little frustrating" as it forced her to remain attached "to a character that was nothing like [her]self." Her locks also were out of their element. "I had to bleach my hair and dye it red every other week for the first 4 years of playing Cat," Grande wrote in a 2014 Facebook post (via People). "as one would assume, that completely destroyed my hair. I now wear a wig on Sam & Cat."

There've been a lot of rumors over the years about supposed feuds between Grande and her "Victorious" co-star Victoria Justice as well as rumblings of behind-the-scenes tension on "Sam & Cat." In April 2017, just months before "Sam & Cat" got the axe, Grande's colleague Jennette McCurdy shared an essay on Twitter about a "trouble friend." She didn't name names, but fans suspected she was talking about Grande. After the TV series was officially cancelled, Grande posted a long heartfelt note on Facebook about it, but as The Hollywood Reporter noted, she thanked everyone involved... except McCurdy. Evidently, this Nickelodeon show didn't end on a high note.

Jenette McCurdy

In 2007, former Nickelodeon star Jennette McCurdy became the jealous fixation of many a wannabe child actor when she landed a starring role on the series "iCarly." For five years she played Sam Puckett, a loud, brash, and occasionally annoying teenager who ran a web show with her two best friends. Following the success of that series, McCurdy carried on playing her character on a spin-off show, "Sam & Cat," which, despite running for only a single season, was a staple of the network.

Things started to fall apart in 2014, however, when McCurdy missed the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards (at the time, walking the red carpet was an all-but-required appearance for Nickelodeon's biggest stars). She addressed her absence in a now-deleted tweet writing that "an uncomfortable, compromising, unfair situation" kept her away. While she never fully explained what that situation was, sources claimed to TMZ that the star was feuding with the network over money, as her co-star Ariana Grande was supposedly making significantly more. (Following the report, Grande tweeted she was "NOT making more money than [McCurdy].")

Years later, on her podcast, "Empty Inside," McCurdy addressed her Nickelodeon experience once again. "I was deeply unhappy, and I actually really resented my life because I didn't like the projects I was a part of," she shared. "I felt a lot of shame... because I didn't like waltzing onto an overlit, cheesy set, and shouting a line... it just felt so pointless and shallow." Maybe we shouldn't have been so envious of McCurdy after all.

Alasdair Gillis

Two years after Nickelodeon's official launch, the network began airing a series that would become the blueprint for all of the kid-friendly comedies that would dominate its programming for years to come. The show, called "You Can't Do That On Television," was essentially a sketch comedy program that focused on laughs and cast "regular" kids who attended regular school and had no professional training. Among these non-actors was Alasdair Gillis.

Gillis spent five years on the show, between 1982-1987. IMDb lists "You Can't Do That On Television" as his last acting credit; his time in the slimelight, er, limelight was through once he was done with the series. (A fun piece of trivia for you: As "You Can't Do That On Television" co-creator Geoffrey Darby told Vulture, the show invented the green slime that has become eponymous with the kids' network.)

In "Slimed: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age," Gillis called out the show a number of times. In one particular section, he got into some of the "bits" that didn't sit right with him: "There are some things I might question in retrospect– fat jokes about Lisa, and a certain amount that was probably over my head at the time in terms of what was tactful or funny. Probably not always the healthiest thing for kids."

Nat Wolff

Finally, Nat Wolff, an actor and musician best known for his roles in the John Green films "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Paper Towns," landed his first role on a Nickelodeon series called "The Naked Brothers Band." In the mockumentary comedy, which was based loosely on Nat and Alex Wolff's real life, Nat played an over-the-top version of himself– a goofy, charming, music-obsessed grade-schooler.

In 2004, in an interview with Vanity Fair, Nat opened up about being on the kids network. He told the interviewer that while he enjoyed his time on the show because it allowed him to work with all his real-life best friends, he felt that "most Nickelodeon shows are pretty bad." (His, of course, being the exception, as it was "cooler than most kid's shows.")

In 2009, the cooler-than-most show ended after Nickelodeon and the Wolff family couldn't come to an agreement about the future of the series. Nat told The Hollywood Reporter, "It was a confusing thing, it wasn't really canceled... They didn't want to keep doing what we were doing." In the end, however, it seems his experience wasn't all bad. Following their show's Zoom reunion in 2020, Nat told StyleCaster that he and Alex were not opposed to the idea of a "Naked Brothers Band" Netflix special. "There's nothing real going on yet, but we're always open to that," Nat shared. "It would have to be perfect."