Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV Extra Episode, April 7, 2024, ID, “Breaking the Silence”

The five-part documentary series Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV has sparked intense conversations about the dark underbelly of children’s television, specifically focusing on the Nickelodeon empire created by producer and showrunner Dan Schneider. The series, directed by Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz, uncovers allegations of abuse, sexism, racism, and inappropriate behaviour involving underage stars and crew members on Schneider’s hit shows.

The first four episodes, which aired on 17 and 18 March 2024, attracted a massive audience, with over 16 million viewers tuning in to Investigation Discovery and Max. The series has since gained traction on social media platforms, with clips from the documentary going viral on TikTok.

The documentary features interviews with former Nickelodeon stars, including Drake Bell, Giovonnie Samuels, Bryan Hearne, and Alexa Nikolas, as well as crew members such as writers Jenny Kilgen and Christy Stratton. The episodes delve into the experiences of these individuals, revealing a culture of inappropriate behaviour and abuse of power.

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In the third episode, Bell reveals for the first time that he was the victim in the Brian Peck child abuse case. Peck, a dialogue coach on All That and The Amanda Show, was convicted of child sexual abuse in 2004 and is a registered sex offender.

The series has prompted a movement among former child stars to bring change to the industry and hold those in power accountable. It has also sparked discussions about safeguarding vulnerable child actors and the need for a supportive environment.

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Following the initial release, Schneider broke his silence, posting a 19-minute video on YouTube. In the video, he apologised for his past behaviours, specifically addressing the neck massages he asked of crew members. He also denied having control over salaries and claimed that the retro scenes in his shows were taken out of context.

This fifth and final extra episode, titled “Breaking the Silence,” airs on Sunday April 7, 2024 at 8.00pm on Investigation Discovery, featuring new interviews with former Nickelodeon stars and a conversation led by Soledad O’Brien. The series is also available to stream on Max and Discovery+.

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