The parents of Nickelodeon stars are being blamed for the horrors they faced on set. But there’s so much more to this story.

When I sat down to watch the Quiet on Set documentary, I felt nauseous from the moment I pressed play. 

All I could think about were the TV shows I had watched as a child and then as a teen, the stories that had shaped me from the moment I was able to work a TV remote. 

I was one of the lucky ones whose parents could afford the basic Foxtel package so Nickelodeon was my go-to station before and after school.

I remember wishing I could be as confident as Amanda Bynes on The Amanda Show or that I could take a class at the Pacific Coast Academy with Jamie Lynn Spears in Zoey 101. I remember wanting to be as musically talented and quirky as Ariana Grande in Victorious or have the same sarcastic yet likable sense of humor as Drake Bell and Josh Peck in Drake & Josh

All of these shows plus more defined 15 years of my life and their influence on my personality has carried into my adulthood. 

But after watching this new four-part documentary series, everything completely changed. 

Watch: Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV trailer. Post continues below.

Video via Film Threat Trailers.

What is Quiet on Set about?

Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV is a four-part documentary series that examined through interviews and court records the insidious power imbalances that led to an unsafe work environment for famous children on the teen television network Nickelodeon


The series focused on programs that aired between 1994 and 2014 and what really happened to the child stars from that era. 

The biggest revelations.

If the title of the series didn't give it away, it's definitely not a "light" watch. The documentary unveils the disgusting behaviour of people in power over those whose careers were dependent on how much they were willing to be pushed and bend themselves to stay employed. 

Sexual harassment, racism, misogyny, bullying, sexual assault, and fostering a culture of toxicity were some of the biggest takeaways from the documentary.  

Bryan Christopher Hearne starred in the sketch comedy series All That between 2000 and 2002. 

He said that he was often put in racist sketches and talked about a sketch where he played a character called Lil' Fetus... depicting a fetus in the womb that rapped for entertainment. For the sketch, he had to wear a full-body suit to appear naked (like a fetus). 

In the documentary he said that once, when he was getting his makeup done, he heard someone say that the colour of the costume should be “charcoal.” He said that his eyes started to well up and although it was hurtful, he never told his mum about that instance.

Another shocking revelation from the series was that three alleged child abusers were employed by Nickelodeon during this era. They worked directly with some of the child actors, even though they were convicted and registered as sex offenders.


Star of the step-brother comedy series Drake & Josh, Drake Bell, spoke for the first time publicly about his sexual assault by Nickelodeon vocal coach Brian Peck. Although he didn't go into details about the assault, he told the interviewer "Why don't you think of the worst stuff someone can do to somebody as a sexual assault and that'll answer your question."

Listen to The Spill hosts discuss the biggest bombshells from Quiet On Set. Post continues below.

The series also examined who the main perpetrators were that fostered this unsafe environment. A name that was consistently mentioned throughout the series was Dan Schnider

Schnider was a famous and powerful figure at Nickelodeon from 1994 to 2018, creating and producing most of the network's hit TV shows. He left Nickelodeon shortly after the #MeToo movement. 

In the series, interviewees said that Schnider would sneak inappropriate adult jokes into the shows as well as ask female coworkers to give him massages on set. In Janette McCurdy's memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died, she talked about someone called "The Creator" who was inappropriate towards her. 

It's been largely believed that she was referring to Dan Schnider. 

How have people responded? 

Since the series premiered, there has been a lot of commentary blaming the parents of the children who were assaulted and discriminated against. Many people couldn’t fathom the idea that these parents were with their kids at all times and yet, these things still happened to them. 

They were together on sets, watching the filming, behind the scenes, and with them at lunch. Most of them were also their child's manager so they would go to meetings with them as well. 


But when you actually watch the documentary, you start to see that there is so much more to this story. 

The series also interviewed some parents of the child actors involved, including Bryan's mum Tracey Brown. 

She talked about a scene that her son was in that alluded to a racist innuendo saying “They set up the scene as if he was selling drugs, and I was like, 'Oh, the Black kid gets to be the crack dealer?'”

She also talked about how she was ostracised for trying to stand up for her son and said she felt like she had to keep her mouth shut so that Bryan wouldn’t get fired.

When Bryan got kicked off the show, she knew her son had lost her trust. 

The series also interviewed Drake's dad Joe Bell. 

Joe talked about being very close to Drake as both a father and his manager while Drake was starring on The Amanda Show. He said that he was never comfortable with Brian Peck and wouldn't leave Drake alone with him. 

Brian convinced Drake's mum, who was separated from his dad Joe, to take charge of Drake's career. 

Soon, Joe was completely pushed out of the picture. According to the documentary Brian manipulated Drake's mum into earning his trust which was how he gained access to Drake. To the point where Drake, as a young child, would spend nights at his house. 

This shows that the grooming and subtle threats didn't stop at the children but were extended to their parents as well.


These are the same people who also had a huge influence within the entertainment industry. 

Drake talked about going to court to deliver his victim impact statement and said that Brian's side of the court was full of people whom Drake recognised. On Drake's side was just him, his mum and his brother. Brian Peck also had character reference letters from over 40 people which were used to influence the Judge's decision. 

The creators of the doco-series were able to convince the court to make these letters public. Some famous figures who wrote to the judge in support of Brian include musician Allen Thicke and actor James Marsden

Still, people aren't convinced that the parents of these children couldn't have stepped in. 

Drake Bell spoke out about people on social media blaming his mother saying “If you were in that situation at that time, he was so good at what he was doing. He was so calculated, he knew exactly what to say, how to say it, what to do, the image to portray, everything.”

There is still a fifth episode to be released called Breaking the Silence that will be available to watch on the 19th of April. It will look at the overall response from the series from the public as well as the lives of the interviewees post-airing. 

Quiet on Set is now available to stream on Binge. 

If you want more entertainment opinions by Emily Vernem, you can listen to her on The Spill podcast Mondays-Wednesdays or you can follow her on Instagram @emilyvernem.

Feature image: Getty.

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