‘Quiet On Set’ Part 5 Features Interview With New ‘All That’ Star and Nickelodeon Actors’ Response to Dan Schneider Interview

“Breaking the Silence” will be a “reaction to the reaction,” Investigation Discovery president Jason Sarlanis says

"Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV" and "Quiet On Set: Breaking the Silence" (Investigation Discovery)
"Quiet On Set" (Investigation Discovery)

The response to Investigation Discovery’s “Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” documentary series from viewers, journalists and former child actors — along with its massive ratings — motivated directors Mary Robertson and Emma Schwartz to pick cameras back up to give audiences a fifth installment. Titled “Breaking the Silence,” it continues the conversation by featuring “never-before-seen” footage, a sit-down with “All That” star Shane Lyons, plus other Nickelodeon stars’ response to Dan Schneider’s post-“Quiet On Set” interview. 

“We created ‘Quiet On Set’ to be the definitive work about a very specific moment of time. And in talking about that moment of time, shedding light on some systemic issues, what [the series] did was sparked a conversation so much bigger than just that,” Jason Sarlanis, president of linear and streaming at ID, told TheWrap.

“Hundreds of media outlets and content creators have begun evolving that story. But what ‘Breaking the Silence’ allows us the opportunity to do is join that conversation,” Sarlanis continued. “And more importantly, give the really brave contributors who are part of ‘Quiet On Set’ the opportunity to talk about how the aftermath of our documentary has affected their lives, and in some ways changed them forever. So really, Part Five is a reaction to the reaction.”

ID released the four-part series, which pulled back the curtain on the slew of alleged abuse that took place during Schneider’s reign in the early ‘90s and 2000s, over the course of two nights on March 17 and March 18. Now, Sarlanis said, the series has reached more than 20 million viewers and launched as the No. 1 show in all of streaming. 

“That kind of embrace from the audience shows that we hit a chord on something that needed to be spoken about,” Sarlanis said. “We couldn’t have anticipated this specific success of this story. We did anticipate that it would be meaningful. So much of what ‘Quiet On Set’ is is exemplary of the direction we’re taking at the network in general, and I’m excited by a lot of the future projects, some of which we are doing also with [Mary Robertson’s] Maxine Productions.”

"Quiet On Set: Breaking the Silence" (Investigation Discovery)
“Quiet On Set: Breaking the Silence” (Investigation Discovery)

In “Breaking the Silence,” Robertson and Schwartz take a step further by introducing new interviewees and hearing from Nickelodeon stars sharing what their life has been like since the show’s release. The filmmakers and Sarlanis began early discussions about doing more filming after social media’s viral reaction to the “Quiet On Set” trailer.

“In Part 5 you’re going to hear from [Shane Lyons] of the ‘All That’ cast, who hasn’t previously come forward,” Robertson said. “You’re going to watch never-before-seen footage, and award-winning journalist Soledad O’Brien is engaging with Gio[vonnie Samuels], and Bryan [Hearne] and Bryan’s mother, Tracy [Brown] — who were all featured in the original four episodes — and engaging with them on some of the questions around the video that Dan [Schneider] offered, how the participation in the documentary has impacted their lives.”

“We’re also of course, speaking directly with Drake Bell again,” Robertson added, “and hearing from him about the ways in which the project has impacted his life. And he’ll be addressing some of the questions around the letter writers that have emerged in recent weeks, too.”

"Quiet On Set: Breaking the Silence" (Investigation Discovery)
“Quiet On Set: Breaking the Silence” (Investigation Discovery)

As conversation continues to grow, the group said they believe the series has sparked a movement that could ultimately help change the landscape for child actors at a legislative level.

“We are watching a movement coalesce around the film and beyond the film,” Robertson said. “We’re hearing calls for federal regulation. At the moment, there is no federal regulation, there’s no federal legislation that governs or regulates children working in entertainment. There’s a patchwork of state laws.”

Some participants in the series have extended the discussion to include adults on set needing better protections as well, Schwartz said.

“We certainly heard from a number of participants. One of the major concerns, even before this launched, was the idea that there’s not a requirement that there’s universal background checks for people working on sets, which is part of how you saw someone like Brian Peck ending up on other shows where there were children,” Schwartz explained. “I think they are very concerned about whether that can be something that can be changed in the law.”

Jenny Kilgen, who was one of the writers who participated in the project, has written a letter to SAG-AFTRA about examining rules surrounding the treatment of children and other people on sets,” Schwartz continued. “A number of the other participants have talked about whether there needs to be sort of social workers and mental health specialists. You know, you’re talking about putting kids in an adult environment — especially when there are adults who are mistreated as well, that has a lot of layers and impact.”

As far as what takes place after Part 5, the group said they haven’t stopped research and are open to seeing where new findings and insight takes them.

“We’re certainly hearing from people every day with experiences, stories, and continuing to do outreach,” Schwartz said. “If anyone has stories they want to share in this universe at large, we are interested in pursuing that.”

Sarlanis said he and the network are in full support of Schwartz and Robertson’s mission. 

“I highly doubt this is the end of this story,” Sarlanis said. “One of the beautiful things that Mary and Emma did with ‘Quiet On Set’ was tailor-make a documentary to empower this specific story, the specific participants. Our openness and our mission is beyond just a specific story. Whatever shape that might take, we’re here to support Mary and Emma for future endeavors in this space.”

Part 5 of “Quiet On Set,” “Breaking the Silence” will premiere Sunday, April 7 at 8 p.m./7 p.m. Central on Investigation Discovery. All four episodes of “Quiet On Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV” are now available to stream on Max.

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