When Nickelodeon first launched in 1977, no one expected it to explode in popularity. The channel only increased viewership by adding fun content that kids loved. Whether it was the unusual skit comedy show You Can’t Do That on Television, to one of the first anime series enjoyed by kids Grimms’ Fairy Tales, kids were watching the channel in-between playing their Nintendo consoles.
The channel only expanded its programming line-up as the years progressed. Nickelodeon tried to change up Sunday morning television by adding Rugrats and Doug to their schedule. During daytime mornings, shows for young children dominated the timeslot and continued to do so. On Saturday nights, they debuted more shows starring teenagers. Hiring on teenagers, unfortunately, brought on way more issues than Nickelodeon was expecting.
Shows for teenage audiences brought out more issues within the casting itself. The actors and actresses were tied to the network by their contracts but ended up rising in popularity as soon as their rose in popularity. While many embraced their fame with open arms, many couldn’t handle the pressure and ended up in legal trouble or worse. Since Nickelodeon still employed many of these stars, the company had to work hard to appease angry viewers.
Several Nickelodeon stars have faced scandals even before leaving the network. Even cartoons aren’t innocent in making parents angry. Wondering how bad it could be behind Nickelodeon’s closed doors? Keep reading.
Angry Beavers stars two beaver brothers kicked out by their parents that have to become adults. The show had a large cast of forest creatures, but most of the arguments stemmed from the brothers. Norbert was the older brother of the pair and often mistreated Daggett. In 1998, the show caused controversy for the network when Norbert shouted "Shut up, Dag!" in the episode "Alley Oops!." Parents complained so Nickelodeon censored the word "Shut." The situation became even worse because the bleeped word could have been anything. After facing more complains, Nickelodeon revised the entire line to "Shush up!" instead.
The showrunners and Nickelodeon faced internal issues, as well. After believing a jab was made against the network in an episode, Nickelodeon retaliated by canceling the show early and not airing the final, fifth season.
Gigantic aired on one of Nickelodeon's spin-off channels, TeenNick, and was made for older viewers. It was a look into the lives of celebrity children. If you've never heard of it, we don't blame you. The show only lasted for one season. Part of the cast was Ryan Rottman, who portrayed Joey Colvin. A few months after the last episode aired, Rottman was pulled over in July 2011. He was driving erratically, so the police officer gave him a breathalyzer test. Rottman blew a .19, which was twice over the legal limit. He was charged with two misdemeanors but settled with only a lesser charge of reckless driving. With those charges came a $390 fine, three years probation, and a mandatory safe driver's class at the DMV.
Rugrats first debuted in 1991 on Nickelodeon and instantly became a hit with fans. Viewers loved the day-to-day adventures of the babies and realistic adults. The series spawned movies, and the spin-off show All Grown Up. Rugrats also had a comic strip that was published daily. In September 1998, the comic series put the network in some trouble. A comic strip featuring Tommy Pickles and his Grandpa Boris offended some readers. They complained Boris was more like a parody of a Jewish person and not realistic. Readers accused the series of being anti Jewish. Nickelodeon's President at the time responded to the criticism by apologizing and saying that Grandpa Boris would no longer be included in the daily comic strip, but he continued to appear in the animated show.
All That was a sketch comedy show featuring teenagers and young adults. The comedy was always light-hearted and even had a spin-off movie Good Burger. Not everything was peaceful on set. Before Amanda Bynes debuted on the show, Angelique Bates was part of the regular cast. Her mother often accompanied her on-set. Instead of being supportive, Bates claimed her mother was physically and emotionally abusive. Sometimes it occurred in front of fellow cast members and even the producers. It was so bad that Child Protective Services was eventually called on-set. Bates claims that Nickelodeon pressured her to stay silent, and feeling pressure, she did. Bates finally left the show and was scheduled to appear on a reunion show, but things didn't work out between her and Nickelodeon.
After iCarly and Victorious ended, two stars from the show continued their work on Nickelodeon in Sam and Cat. Jennette McCurdy reprised her role as the tough, yet kind-hearted, Sam. In 2014, photos of McCurdy wearing only her underwear were leaked online. People suspected it was in retaliation for criticizing her ex-boyfriend Andre Drummond's kissing skills on a Nerdist podcast. Being in the NBA, his career also faced some negative attention. He claimed he had nothing to do with it, even though she claims he was the only one she sent the photos to.
Nickelodeon responded to the scandal by halting production on Sam And Cat. She also didn't get to appear on the 2014 Kids’ Choice Awards. Her relationship with the network eventually ended when she continued to criticize Nickelodeon on Twitter.
There's no doubt that Jason Biggs' most famous role was as Jim in the American Pie movie series. He took on a new role as Leonardo in Nickelodeon's 2012 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. In the first season, he performed his role well, but soon caused issues on social media. In the same year he debuted as the Ninja Turtles' leader, he wrote offensive tweets during the Republican National Convention about Ann Romney, Janna Little, and Janna Ryan. After a wave of backlash, Biggs was forced to delete the offending tweets. Nickelodeon was then forced to issue the statement "We also insisted Jason use better judgment and discretion in public communications while affiliated with our brand." Biggs' role as Leonardo only lasted one year before being replaced by Seth Green.
Wild & Crazy Kids debuted on Nickelodeon in the early 1990s. Kids competed in various physical challenges, including human Space Invaders and an obstacle course featuring the Nintendo Power Pad. Omar Gooding was part of the trio of teenage hosts. The show lasted for three seasons until 1992.
In 2013, Wild & Crazy Kids made headlines again, but for unfortunate reasons. Gooding was taken into custody for risky driving in Los Angeles. Police also found substances on him at the time of his arrest. He made a plea deal and was only charged with one count of reckless driving. He won't face jail time, but he was put on probation for two years. Gooding had to also give up his time by attending twelve AA meetings.
Bella and the Bulldogs was one of Nickelodeon's newest shows that only lasted one year. It told the story about a teenage girl, Bella, who was a cheerleader but ended up being recruited to be the football team's quarterback. Her cheerleading friends and the new team both try to accept her new position. Sounds innocent, but some extreme far-right thinkers took things too far. They believed the show promoted stereotypes, interracial relationships, and misandry. These extremists believed the show was trying to indoctrinate children. They flooded Nickelodeon with letters, petitions, and social media posts demanding the show be canceled from the network.
Nickelodeon did their best to ignore the complaints and when asked about the show, stated: "Bella and the Bulldogs is a kids’ sitcom centered on a group of friends in middle school who play on a football team."
Zoey 101 took place in a boarding school where boys and girls had to learn to co-exist. The show was about growing up, which Logan, played by Matthew Underwood, had to find out the hard way. In 2012, police showed up at his door with a warrant. When they entered his home, they found Matthew with an underage girl in his bedroom. Police found substances and all the tools he and his friend needed to smoke. He was sentenced to a year of probation. A few months later, he ended up in jail on suspicion of violating his probation. He proved himself innocent and quickly turned his bad boy ways around.
In April 2017, he made headlines again for his heroics after rescuing a 4-month-old baby from a crashed car.
Drake & Josh starred Drake Bell and Josh Peck who became stepbrothers and best friends. The show only lasted for four seasons. Drake Bell ended up in legal trouble. In 2009, he was arrested for risky driving. He was let go, and the police hoped he learned a valuable lesson. Unfortunately, he was arrested on the same charge again in 2015. He made a plea deal with the judge for four years of probation and four days in jail. He only spent one day in jail because of good behavior and overcrowding in the jail.
His legal issues seemed to tear the Drake & Josh team apart. While Drake faced legal issues, his partner moved on. Josh Peck eventually moved on to become a YouTube Star and married his longtime girlfriend. Drake wasn't invited to the wedding.
The Loud House is one of Nickelodeon's latest cartoon series. It stars a boy named Lincoln and his adventures living in a home with eleven sisters. Lincoln is trying to maintain some control in his life, while the creator was facing legal trouble of his own. It was created by Chris Savano, who previously worked on Dexter's Laboratory on Cartoon Network.
In late October 2017, numerous complaints flooded the Nickelodeon office. Savano allegedly harassed at least twelve women, then threatened retaliation if they reported it to management. It went on to be reported. Nickelodeon took the allegations seriously and fired Savano from the network. Afterwards, Savano made a post on Facebook stating that he felt "deeply sorry" for what happened in the office.
Unfabulous was one of the most popular teen sitcoms alongside Zoey 101. It was about a group of Junior High students. The show lasted for four years, but the cast mostly remained quiet after the show ended.
The star of the show, Emma Roberts, found herself in legal trouble and brought attention to Unfabulous years after the last episode. In 2013, police were called to her hotel room in Montreal. She was in a fight with her boyfriend, Evan Peters. He had a bloody nose and a bite mark. The police ended up arresting Roberts for charges. Peters decided to drop the charges, and they reconciled. The couple stayed together in an off-and-on relationship for three more years before breaking up for good.
Viewers have tried to come up with conspiracy theories and rumors about SpongeBob SquarePants since it debuted. The show has also been accused of lowering the IQ of young children, making parents worried to allow them to watch it. SpongeBob has generated several complaints over the years, but the Ukraine hoped to ban it, along with other cartoons.
In 2012, the Ukrainian National Expert Commission for Protecting Public Morality accused the show of being amoral. They claimed the cartoon was promoting being gay. The commission also believed that the cartoon was part of a giant experiment to turn innocent children into criminals. Nickelodeon did not comment on the report. The network is most likely too exhausted with all of the other complaints the show generates.
After Sam & Cat was canceled, Ariana Grande moved on to build a successful music career. Many fans wondered if she was as airheaded as her character on Victorious. A scandal in 2015 may have confirmed her unusual behavior. At a donut shop, Grande caused a scandal by randomly licking donuts. She didn't pay for them beforehand but thought she would get away with it. Unfortunately for her, she was caught on a security camera. An employee confronted her, and she replied "I hate Americans" and "I hate America." The strange event even created a hashtag called #DonutGate. The act caused her to lose the opportunity to sing for President Obama and his family at a gala in the White House. She later apologized for her behavior in a YouTube video.
Amanda Bynes was a popular actress on Nickelodeon in the 1990s. She was part of the All That cast and starred in The Amanda Show. Her career began spiraling down in 2012. She was arrested for drunk driving and a hit-and-run. The next year, she was arrested on drug paraphernalia charges after throwing a smoking device from the 36th floor of a New York building. Her worst moment was setting a fire in someone's driveway for unknown reasons. She was placed on psychiatric hold. You'd think her legal issues would stop there, but she ended up getting arrested for risky driving again in 2014 and involuntarily placed in another psychiatric hold. She's stayed out of the spotlight for now and hasn't acted since Easy A in 2010.
Britney Spears isn't the only talented member of her family. Her sister, Jamie Lynn starred in Zoey 101 on Nickelodeon. She shocked fans by revealing her pregnancy when she was 16 in 2007, during the third season of the Nickelodeon show. Though the show was doing well, Jamie Lynn's pregnancy caused issues for the network and within her personal life. She had to put most of her projects on hold to raise her child. The network put out a statement that they respected her decision and hoped only for the best for her and her newborn child. Nickelodeon was forced to cancel Zoey 101 in 2008, making the fourth season its last.
Her boyfriend, Casey, was older than her, prompting some legal troubles. Since he was barely two years older than her, he didn't face any charges.
iCarly ran on Nickelodeon for five years before the cast decided to part ways. The show starred Carly, a girl who ran a popular online show. The show often featured crazy experiments or stunts. Katina Waters was one of the stunt people hired for the show. Her small frame allowed her to become a stuntwoman for child stars. Her 2011 role was to be slowly dropped from the ceiling. Things didn't go as planned. Waters claimed that the Nickelodeon cast members allowed her to crash to the ground. She fractured both of her legs and tore ligaments and was unable to work while she recovered. Angry about the incident, she said she would sue the showrunners. The status of the lawsuit is unknown, but it's one more issue Nickelodeon has to deal with.
Steve Burns was the original host of the long-running children's show Blue’s Clues. The producers of the show believed he did an outstanding job speaking to children. The show was an instant hit, not only among children but older women. Burns was very involved with the show, but over time, lost interest in the show. Six years passed before Burns decided to leave the show. He wanted to move on to new projects and not be trapped on the show forever. His departure flooded the internet with conspiracy theories and rumors. They ranged from: leaving to pursue a new music career, death from an overdose, and a horrific car accident. It was so bad that the co-creator of the show, Angela Santomero, made an appearance on The Today Show to console parents worried about the rumors.
The Power Rangers series began airing on Nickelodeon in 2011 with the Samurai series. Ricardo Medina Jr. portrayed the anti-hero Deker. He often carried around a sword with him and was ready for battle. Deker didn't often interact with the Rangers, other than providing vague advice to Jayden, the Red Ranger.
In 2015, he was arrested for allegedly stabbing his roommate to death with a sword. At first, he was released without any charges. He had claimed that he accidentally killed his roommate in self-defense after an argument. In 2016, he was arrested again after police found new evidence. He almost faced a life sentence but pleaded guilty. His arrest and conviction shook up Power Rangers fans, but the series continues to air today.
Caitlin Sanchez was the second voice actress for Dora the Explorer in 2007. While adults may have disliked Dora's personality, children loved her. After playing the characters for years, she claimed that Nickelodeon put her through long work hours, didn't pay overtime, and underpaid her for the work she did. The network fought back stating her voice had changed, and she could no longer properly perform Dora's voice. They eventually settled with Caitlin, but a few years later, claimed she was duped into paying taxes and lawyer fees that left her with almost nothing.
Fatima Ptacek, Dora's voice actress from 2012-2014, also found herself in some trouble. She was suspended from school for vaping in her private school's bathroom in 2016. Luckily, it caused little issues with Nickelodeon, since she left the network two years before the event.