×

Dan Schneider in development deal at Nick

Viacom cabler will rely on hitmaker as it seeks to rebound

In the effort to stem the ratings slump at Nickelodeon, the kidvid cabler is turning to its most reliable live-action hitmaker: Dan Schneider.

The prolific producer has struck a hefty three-year development pact with the Viacom cabler. The first project under the new pact is “Sam and Cat,” which aims to build on the fanbase by uniting characters from two past Nick comedies from Schneider: “iCarly” and “Victorious.”

Schneider has been a pioneer in integrating Web content and social media into the fabric of his shows. He’ll be doing much more of that in the future as producers in all genres look to harness the power of second-screen activity to drive buzz and engagement among fans. For Nick shows, getting traction on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms is vital to reaching its core tween and teen aud.

“I’m always trying to bake Web elements into the DNA of my shows,” Schneider told Variety.

He first began playing with TV-to-Web plugs back in 1999 on Nick’s “The Amanda Show,” when star Amanda Bynes’ character would frequently reference the AmandaPlease.com site that featured related show content.

“When we set out on a new project, we’re not just creating a TV show, we’re creating a multiplatform (property),” Schneider said. “But as powerful as the Internet is, it’s still not more powerful than TV. It all starts with the show.”

“Sam and Cat” stars Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande as characters they played on “iCarly” and “Victorious,” respectively, who launch a babysitting biz. Production on 20 episodes got under way earlier this month, and the show is set to premiere later this year.

Schneider, who started in the biz as an actor, boasts nearly 445,000 Twitter followers. When new episodes of his shows air, he’s usually live-tweeting along with some of his actors in an effort to make fans feel like they have a personal connection to the cast and producers.

Schneider’s roster of past Nick shows include “All That,” “Kenan and Kel,” “Drake and Josh,” “Zooey 101.” He produced the Bynes sitcom “What I Like About You” for the WB Network from 2002-06 but otherwise has stayed in the Nick stable. After such a long tenure, he has the kind of control over his shows that he knows would be hard to command anywhere else.

“There are very few people in the entertainment business who have the level of creative control that I do,” he said. “Nickelodeon has always been generous in giving me a lot of latitude.”

Schneider, repped by WME, is also committed to the tough assignment of courting the oh-so-fickle tween demo, as well as the challenge of working with actors who grow up on air. He prefers the specificity of developing for the Nick crowd because it has such broad reach with its target audience despite its recent viewership declines.

“Even with very popular (adult) primetime shows, you can’t count on everyone to have seen them,” Schneider said. But when a show hits big on Nick, “You can be sure that there isn’t a kid in the country who hasn’t at least heard something about it,” he said.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • NBC Campaign Aims to Reclaim Brand

    NBC Launches Campaign to Reclaim Brand Ownership of Hit Comedies (EXCLUSIVE)

    NBC is preparing a new salvo in the streaming-era TV branding wars. As audiences increasingly watch shows like “The Good Place” and “Superstore” on other platforms, the Peacock network has launched a new campaign to remind them that these are, first and foremost, NBC shows. And they’re even enlisting a real-life peacock to convey the [...]

  • Shane Gillis

    'SNL' Sought Conservative Appeal With Shane Gillis Hire

    “Saturday Night Live” was looking to shake things up with the casting of Shane Gillis — and it did, albeit unintentionally. According to sources, the long-running NBC comedy show and series mastermind Lorne Michaels were actively looking to cast a comedian for its new season who would appeal to more conservative viewers. This was meant [...]

  • TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Arsenio

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Announces Arsenio Hall's Comedy Special Premiere Date

    In today’s TV news roundup, Netflix announced the premiere date for Arsenio Hall’s comedy special and a “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” duo (among others) will guest star on “Elena of Avalor.” CASTING “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” stars Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub, as well as Auli’i Cravalho (“Moana”), John Leguizamo (“When They See Us”), Taye Diggs (“All American”), Eugenio Derbez [...]

  • How 'Save Our Show' Campaigns Affect

    From 'The OA' to 'One Day at a Time': How 'Save Our Show' Campaigns Affect Network Interest

    Organized flash mobs and mounting billboards still may not save your favorite shows, as some fan campaigns are finding out. Following Netflix’s most recent decision to stand firm on its cancellation of “The OA,” the question remains, “what will save these shows?” When networks and streamers find that smaller favorites aren’t big cash cows, fans [...]

  • Afton WilliamsonABC All-Star Happy Hour, TCA

    Afton Williamson 'Rookie' Investigation: Studio Finds No 'Inappropriate' Workplace Behavior

    Entertainment One (eOne) has released their findings into claims of racial discrimination and sexual harassment and assault made by Afton Williamson, former star of the ABC series “The Rookie.” A statement released by the company reads, in part, “As a result of the independent investigation, we have concluded that those identified in Ms. Williamson’s allegations [...]

  • DeVaughn Nixon'A Tale of Two Sisters'

    DeVaughn Nixon to Play His Dad Norm Nixon in HBO’s Showtime Lakers Pilot

    DeVaughn Nixon, best known for his roles in “Prom” and “Marvel’s Runaways” has joined HBO’s untitled pilot about the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s. Nixon will play his father Norm Nixon, a debonair playboy who overcomes insurmountable odds to become the all-star point guard of the Lakers. He expertly maneuvers the complexities of NBA stardom, [...]

  • "The Stockholm Syndrome" - Pictured: Rajesh

    Inside the Blockbuster $600 Million 'Big Bang Theory' Streaming Deal With HBO Max

    As one of TV’s most popular shows of the past 20 years, “The Big Bang Theory” was sure to command a huge price when the streaming rights were finally shopped in a red-hot market for iconic comedies with large libraries. But “Big Bang Theory” wasn’t shopped widely on the open market before the streaming pact [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content