waynepygram.com: What does Dan Schneider's departure mean for Nickelodeon?

waynepygram.com: What does Dan Schneider's departure mean for Nickelodeon?

It's the end of an era, apparently.

Multiple news outlets have reported that Nickelodeon has decided not to extend their current deal with Dan Schneider and Schneider's Bakery, effectively ending their relationship that has lasted several years.

This is huge news for the network. Not just that, but Nickelodeon has also decided to cancel Game Shakers. A fifth season of Henry Danger is still planned, for whatever reason.

There are also claims of Schneider being verbally abusive, long production days, and the longstanding rumors of him sexually abusing his young female stars.

I'm not here to talk about any of that because that wasn't my intention with this post and that's an entirely different topic. What I wanted to discuss was how this will change the live-action landscape of Nickelodeon. Dan Schneider has been part of the network since the days of All That, and he has been the creative mastermind behind most of Nick's most successful live-action shows. Is this because he's just that good, or because other content creators were never given the same respect and opportunities? There have been memorable shows made by other creators over the years, but Schneider's Bakery has dominated for three decades now.

This was probably a long time coming. Beyond just being shows of really poor quality, Henry Danger and Game Shakers just don't have the same success that Drake & Josh or iCarly had. Nickelodeon was most likely disappointed that both shows were going under the radar. Now that these shows are on borrowed time, there has to be an overhaul somewhere.

Let's look at how things are now. Henry Danger has at least one season left. Game Shakers is finished. The Thundermans is on its way out. Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn is also heading for the door. The only show left is Knight Squad, which might not even be around next year. Of course, there are other shows coming, but who's making them? Schneider leaving means that this is a completely new generation of live-action shows. By 2020, the Nickelodeon we used to know will no longer be around.

This really is bittersweet, mostly because of how I grew up as a huge fan of Schneider's shows, and now as more allegations are coming out against him, I don't know what to believe about the man anymore. I guess Nickelodeon had to move on at some point. Schneider's Bakery has been treading water for too many years now. Henry Danger and Game Shakers are going to be footnotes in a couple years, and it's not like going to another network will help improve the quality for future shows. This is something that will have huge implications years down the line, but for now, all we can do is just sit around in shock.

Aaaannnnnd...it's me. Hopefully Blogspot won't fail on the text editing so you can tell it's more, or even worse delete what Mike said.

First of all, I do want to talk about the alleged sexual abuse done by Dan - or rather, do my part to clear up the rumors regarding the lack of any accusations. I forget where I read it - I want to say it's NickAndMore!'s blog although his post is decidedly absent of any analysis beyond repeating what the newswire itself says or maybe it's his Twitter account - if it's something else I'll link to it as soon as I find it - but whoever it was, it made a good point about how no one's stepped forward after all this time, especially during the height of #MeToo and #TimesUp and especially after both the creator of The Loud House and now the creator of Ren and Stimpy - some of Nickelodeon's greatest hits, the latter almost synonymous with the network itself (at least until Spongebob) and the former the one gleaming non-Spongebob hit on the network, animated or otherwise - have been outed, but still nobody's come forward pointing their finger at Dan. Let's face it - Dan's very appearance - rotund and nerdy - and his very occupation just makes him a ripe and natural target for pedophilia accusations from people who just see it as a one-second opportunity to play Crazy Days and Nights or even just The Drudge Report. I'm not trying to dilute or lessen the impact of such accusations - again, if you know my history as I've talked about on this blog, I'm probably the last person to do that - but rather, just point out that so far none exist, and if there was ever a time for someone to feel most comfortable for pointing it out, now's definitely the time.

Dan's a smart guy, and he's also a married guy (his wife has her own franchise, Hungry Girl) and he knows any actual sexual assault will pretty much permanently destroy any ability to earn any real money for the rest of his life. At this point, just given the lack of evidence, I'm not inclined to believe he's sexually assaulted anyone. Of course, that will turn 180 instantly the moment even one accusation actually comes forward, but with zero such accusations I feel I have no choice but to give him the benefit of the doubt. I really also do believe that Micheal Jackson - yes, the king of pop - is pretty much innocent of sexual assault, but given how he loved to hang around with those much younger than him, it's only natural people would be creeped out. I feel that's just the same case here - he had a natural talent to be "with it" with a teen and really tween crowd, and the nature of his business necessitated he not only hang out with but personally evaluate the talent of teen and tween talent, and that's just going to naturally creep people out. The fact that what appeals to tweens and teens can seem...exceptionally creepy from an adult perspective well, needless to say that doesn't help either.

But onto the issues at hand, the real reason why he was let go and the quality of his shows, both of which are deeply intertwined. 

I feel I do myself a disservice by not mentioning how Drake & Josh and - yes really, Victorious - is one of my most favorite shows of all time. The others...yes, including All That, Zoey101 and even iCarly - were not so much my cup of tea, but then again I was watching this through strictly an adult's perspective (the first episode of iCarly I ever bothered to watch on premiere was the one with Jimmy Fallon in it, where she gets forcibly canceled by the FCC). I can see how kids - or at least tweens - still saw a lot of appeal in those shows. iCarly especially - let's face it - had a lot of lowest common denominator appeal with its demo. To continue my unfiltered, brutal honesty, iCarly's success was in featuring two extremely bratty tween girls and their random guy friend going almost literally just whatever seemed cool at the time, or at least during the table pitch. They went into space, they went to Japan, they crash a fan's wedding. And in not one of those episodes did they even make use of much of the premise or setting - it was Carly and Sam acting bratty and Freddie being drug along for the ride in what amounted to slightly different set changes. Then again, this wasn't all that much different from Disney Channel's biggest successes of the time, Suite Life on Deck and Wizards of Waverly Place, except WoWP at least typically used its premises and sets a little better.

Of course even WoWP matured and iCarly (and SLoD)...didn't. But that's ok, because just like how SLoD eventually gave way to Jessie which I still insist was KidCom at Tiffany's in comparison (at least in its second and especially first season, before it devolved into another inferior Suite Life clone [and don't give me any guff about how that's what it literally was to begin with]), iCarly gave way to Victorious which was a much more mature and dare I even say sophisticated take, really nailing the teenage perspective and zeitgeist through the three calendar years or so it ended up running through. A lot of people joke it's The Breakfast Club: the 2010s show and...I don't think that's inaccurate at all. Whereas Carly and Sam were bratty strictly as a comedy delivery device, Tori, Beck, Jade, and Andre pulled off a really slick, cool air that was the right mix of rebellion and just outright apathy, with Cat and Trina being excellent foils that ultimately helped magnify the other four's coolness (although I'll have to admit a lot of that slick coolness was rubbing off on Carly and Sam towards the end too). That's the difference between writing for tweens, and writing for actual teens. It's something that Disney Channel...well, they don't bother to do much anymore, if at all. They flirted with it in JONAS especially (and we all saw how well that worked), then again with I Didn't Do It (and again, we all saw how that worked) and to a lesser extent with Good Luck Charlie, Jessie and Liv and Maddie and between all those two exactly two of them worked and only then by trying to have mixed appeal to even a sub-tween demo along with an older teen or even outright adult demo (Jessie really dropping any real teen and especially adult appeal it had by mid-season 2 aside from Debby's sex appeal - and if you're going to ding me for that comment, you should've read the IMDb boards on Jessie and Debby Ryan before thinking I'm wrong on that, and on that note I'm glad those boards are gone). Of all those named shows, Victorious was the only one that successfully managed to hold onto the actual older teen demo it was aiming for - but not the only one in Nickelodeon's history or even on Dan's resume as with Zoey101 and for me especially, Drake & Josh (I regard the success of that show to be credited to how it was more of an adult-style sitcom that just happaned to star teens).

Then...it all came crashing down almost immediately after Victorious aired its last episode. And I don't just mean for Dan Schneider, but Nickelodeon as a whole and it even managed to drag Disney Channel down with them, but that's another post (that I've already written, multiple times, and probably continue to write in the future). Sam & Cat...was a disaster. I'm not sure what happened exactly other than it felt phoned-in, relying on an assumed magic inherited from iCarly that never bothered to transfer. Especially right after Victorious, it just came off as too generic to be taken credibly as a Schneider's Bakery creation. 

Then we have Henry Danger which is a success...for some reason...but to its credit it at least bothers to make use of its premise (some episodes). And we have Game Shakers which is...iCarly 2.0, for 2017. Game Shakers obviously wasn't the success Nickelodeon was hoping for, or even what the network and Schneider insist it actually is. What also doesn't help is that it insists on having actual game tie-ins which, even if they are of strictly a mobile nature, still represents a steep production cost on top of what it would've been otherwise. But I really feel that if you had to pick a point where it really fell through, it was back on Sam & Cat. The insane production schedule (for those not in the know, the first season had 40 episodes, at least half of the show's anticipated ultimate episode count, something virtually unprecedented, although they only made about 35 or so) and the lack of return on that investment no doubt was where it first soured. Actually, maybe even back on Victorious which ended on 65 episodes even though most people thought it was automatic at an 80 final episode count, if not into the 90s or even up to 100. Victorous' premature episode axe was such a surprise they didn't even have time to put together a proper finale (rumors have it that Victorious was supposed to even run concurrent with Sam & Cat with potentially intertwined storylines). Not to mention the iCarly spin-off about Gibby that was put to filmed pilot, but never picked up (I'd love to know if any of you have seen this).

And...well, let's talk about those expenses which probably was the singular most contributing factor. Multi-cam shows are meant to be cheap by design, that's the whole reason why they use multiple cameras to film everything in the first place (so you can get things on fewer takes and those multiple cameras help hide things that normally would need additional production values to hide otherwise, namely that invisible fourth wall). Dan Schneider was driving up costs so high, however, that it pretty much defeated the purpose (iCarly ended up being much more expensive than Zoey101, the sole single-cam show Dan did for Nickelodeon). To Dan's credit, the vast majority of those costs went straight to the players themselves, but to clearly an excessive degree. Here's a bit of trivia for you - "minute-for-minute" Miranda Cosgrove was the highest paid actress in all of Hollywood during the run of iCarly. She got paid $180,000 per 26 minutes of usable film (or basically per regular episode, or half of an hour special, or a third of a 90-minute special). Jennette McCurdy got $150,000 per episode, as well as the entire cast of Victorious. For comparison's sake, Sofia Vergara, lead actress of Modern Family - one of if not the most popular "adult"/"family" sitcoms during that same time - got paid $90,000 per episode - or in other words, half of Miranda Cosgrove's running rate. When adjusted for "minute-by-minute" considerations that gets reduced to a quarter of what Miranda made for the same amount of footage. And keep in mind, Modern Family is a single-cam show! (Actually, a very complexly shot show at that.) To put that in another perspective, that's more than the per episode rate commanded back at Disney Channel by Miley Cyrus, Ashley Tisdale, Brenda Song, Debby Ryan, Dove Cameron, Rowan Blanchard, Sabrina Carpenter, Bridgit Mendler and your choice of either Bella Thorne or Zendaya combined (Disney Channels' rates top out at $20,000 and if the show wasn't named for your character you might only be seeing $15,000 or even just $10,000 per episode - with one exception, when they gave Miley a whopping 5 grand pay bump per episode, whee). 

Yeah, needless to say that's not exactly sustainable, when one of your actresses cost more than all of the lead actresses at the rival network put together. And now you know why they had such nonsense like having every single episode of iCarly be a "special" that would air once a month, and then for the rest of that month well...I hope you enjoy Bucket and Skinner and Marvin, Marvin!

I can't imagine Jace commands anywhere near that amount now, or Cree or Madison on Game Shakers but...yeah. This was a long time coming, but it has nothing to do with sexual assaults or even angry outbursts (although the latter certainly doesn't help his case, though it just makes him look like he's coming out a punk in the public eye more than an actual critical reason for letting him go). It has everything to do with...well, he's just getting old, and everyone loses their touch, no exceptions. Myself, working in the publishing industry (well, kinda sorta, more on that in the future) and even being an author myself (kinda sorta, although I'm happy to say that the "author" part is starting to actually weigh more in my life), well it's only natural that I see it all the time. I see it with my favorite authors all the time, and so on. So, it was inevitable, and now that Nickelodeon is starting to feel the effects of Dan's erosion of talent and product, well, that's what we've come to.
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