Kel Mitchell, who rose to fame on a slew of Nickelodeon’s ’90s staples, is coming back to his roots for a brand new series at the network, Variety has learned.
Mitchell, who starred on teen sketch comedy “All That,” followed by his own show “Kenan & Kel” with “SNL’s” Kenan Thompson and feature film “Good Burger,” will star in new live-action sitcom “Game Shakers,” which follows two 12-year-old girls (Cree Cicchino and Madisyn Shipman) who start a multimillion-dollar gaming company and have no choice but to take on rap superstar Double G (Mitchell) as their business partner.
The project not only marks Mitchell’s regular return to Nickelodeon, but also a reunion with series creator Dan Schneider, who worked on “All That,” “Kenan & Kel” and “Good Burger” before creating kids’ hits “Victorious,” “iCarly,” “Sam & Cat,” “Zoey 101,” “Drake & Josh” and “The Amanda Show.”
“When Kel is doing scenes on our new show, ‘Game Shakers,’ we all laugh so hard on set, just like we did 20 years ago,” Schneider tells Variety. “It feels new, but also very familiar. Sometimes I have to think to myself, ‘Wait, is this 1995 or 2015?'”
Mitchell is one of many ’80s and ’90s stars returning to TV in their original or similar roles. Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel, who starred in “Boy Meets World,” are now headlining Disney Channel’s ensemble “Girl Meets World,” while Netflix’s “Full House” spinoff is bringing back familiar faces including John Stamos, Bob Saget and Candace Cameron Bure.
“People have this special place in their hearts for all Kel’s work in ‘All That,’ ‘Kenan & Kel’ and ‘Good Burger,'” Schneider explains of the nostalgia factor, which has recently been rising in television popularity. “He can’t go anywhere without being stopped by fans, asked to pose for selfies and all that stuff.”
Schneider tells Variety more about “Game Shakers” and bringing Mitchell back to Nickelodeon.
What is it like to work with Kel again?
If someone were making a list of the Top 10 funniest comedy actors today, Kel Mitchell easily makes that list. It’s a privilege to work with anyone that talented. It’s the same kind of feeling I’ve had in the past, working with entertainers like Jack Black and Jim Parsons. But with Kel, there’s also this great nostalgic feeling as we work together now. My writing/producing career began back in 1994 when I co-created ‘All That’ and ‘Kenan & Kel’ with my friend, Brian Robbins. Kel was a huge part of those shows, and then he starred in ‘Good Burger,’ the first movie I wrote and co-produced. Even back then in the 90’s, working with Kel was magical. You never knew what insane, hilarious comedy he was going to add to scenes. Today, I swear, somehow he’s gotten even better.
How did Kel get attached to the project?
A couple of years ago I was writing an episode of ‘Sam & Cat.’ There was a guest star role for an eccentric rap artist and business mogul, named Peezy B. When I was telling Ariana Grande (who starred in ‘Sam & Cat’) about the episode and the role of the rap mogul, I mentioned the idea of Kel Mitchel playing the part. Ariana got crazy excited. I didn’t realize she was such a huge Kel Mitchell fan…Kel played the role and he was brilliantly funny. Then, a year or so later, when I was creating my new show, ‘Game Shakers,’ there was a similar role for a regular character named Double G. I asked Kel if he’d be into the idea of doing a weekly television series, playing this crazy, fun, big character. And now, it’s happening.
Do you think Kel still has the power to draw in his old fans, along with new viewers?
Good question. Kel remains very popular, to this day…that being said, the audience for Nickelodeon is very young. Some of them know Kel’s work, and some don’t. But he’s so universally popular, I feel sure that will attract viewers.
Any chance for a Kenan reunion on the show?
Almost nothing would excite me more than reuniting Kenan and Kel in a big way. People would go crazy to see them back together making great comedy again. It would be amazing because they’re as strong and talented as any male comedy duo that’s ever been. There’s been talk of various ways to bring Kenan and Kel back together. All I can say is, I can’t imagine anything more fun and exciting. I’m in!