Dan Schneider (born January 14, 1966) is an American songwriter, actor, screenwriter, and producer of films and television. After appearing in mostly supporting roles in a number of 1980s and 1990s films and TV shows, Schneider devoted himself to behind-the-scenes work in production. He is the co-president of television production company Schneider's Bakery.
Schneider was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, to parents Harry and Carol Schneider. He attended Harvard University for one semester. After returning to Memphis, he worked repairing computers. Soon after, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, and eventually a screenwriting career.
In 1986, Schneider played Dennis Blunden on the ABC television sitcom Head of the Class. The series ran for five seasons from 1986 to 1991. In 1993, Schneider starred in the series Home Free, and in 1994, he played Shawn Eckhardt in Tonya & Nancy: The Inside Story, one of two made-for-television films about the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan scandal.
Schneider is well known for making cameo appearances in TV series that he has helped to create/produce. He has made cameo appearances in All That (and its subsequent film Good Burger), The Amanda Show, Zoey 101, iCarly, and Henry Danger. Schneider also lends his voice to be used as a voice over in many of his projects.
Schneider's career shifted directions in 1993 when he began writing and producing a string of highly successful television shows. The headline in a New York Times article about Schneider called him "the master of a television genre." Another New York Times article (September 7, 2007) said that Schneider "has become the Norman Lear of children's television."
Schneider is the creative force behind several notable television series:
Starring Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande as their characters Sam Puckett and Cat Valentine from iCarly and Victorious, respectively. Sam and Cat become roommates and start a babysitting business to fund their adventures. This series is the first crossover spin-off of iCarly and Victorious. The show won Favorite TV Show in 2014 Kids' Choice Awards. The series premiered on June 8, 2013. Sam and Cat was officially cancelled on July 13, 2014, and ended on July 17, 2014.
Starring Miranda Cosgrove as Carly Shay, Jennette McCurdy as Sam Puckett, Nathan Kress as Freddie Benson, Jerry Trainor as Spencer Shay and Noah Munck as Gibby Gibson, iCarly debuted on September 8, 2007 and was an instant hit, and as of 2010, is the top-rated children's program on cable television, and also one of the most successful shows on cable. iCarly is about a group of friends: Carly, Sam and Freddie, who make a popular comedy web series called iCarly, and often get into strange and wacky situations. Based on early confidence, the network increased the first season order from 13 episodes to 22 episodes. iCarly was nominated for a Kids' Choice Award in its first season, competing against Hannah Montana and Drake & Josh (another series created by Dan Schneider, in which Cosgrove and Trainor previously starred in), and later won Kids' Choice Awards in 2009, 2010, and 2011 for Favorite TV Show. It was also nominated for an Emmy award in 2012. iCarly is the longest running live-action sitcom in Nickelodeon history, with more than 100 episodes. The series finale aired on November 23, 2012. Schneider appeared in the final episode, as did his wife, Lisa Lillien.
Drake & Josh has won multiple Kids' Choice Awards, and is one of Nickelodeon's all-time most popular series. Three of the actors in the main cast were also in The Amanda Show: Drake Bell, Josh Peck, and Nancy Sullivan; Miranda Cosgrove and Jonathan Goldstein rounded out the main cast. The series centered on Drake Parker (Bell) and Josh Nichols (Peck), two polar opposite teenage boys, who become stepbrothers when Drake and Megan's mother (Sullivan) and Josh's father (Goldstein) get married. Drake's scheming and underachieving ways and Josh's awkwardness and haplessness end up giving way to many sticky situations that the two try to get out of.
What I Like About You starred Amanda Bynes and Jennie Garth, formerly of Beverly Hills 90210, and centered on two sisters: Valerie Tyler (Garth), a PR consultant whose younger sister, Holly (Bynes), moves in with her after their father accepts a job in Japan. The show had a four-year successful run on the WB network, just before the WB and UPN merged into the "CW" network. The series, co-created by Schneider and former Friends writer/producer Wil Calhoun, is one of only two series Schneider created that was produced for broadcast network television. Schneider was an executive producer during the show's first two seasons.
The Amanda Show was a sketch comedy series, starring Amanda Bynes, that earned multiple Kids' Choice Awards. Although the show ended production in 2002, it continued to air in reruns on Nickelodeon through 2007. Schneider himself often appeared on The Amanda Show as a frustrated old man who was frequently the victim of strange prank phone calls.
Guys Like Us is a short-lived sitcom that ran on UPN for 13 episodes from 1998 to 1999. Starring Bumper Robinson, Maestro Harrell and Chris Hardwick, the series centered on Jared Harris (Robinson) and Sean Barker (Hardwick), two twenty-something bachelors who are faced with the task of taking care of Jared's precocious six-year-old brother Maestro (Harrell), who comes to live with them after Jared's father accepts a freelance position overseas. The premise of a younger sibling moving in with their older sibling after a parent gets a job overseas would later be applied to the premise of the Schneider-created series What I Like About You years later, as well as iCarly. The series is one of only two series Schneider created that was produced for broadcast network television.
Kenan & Kel was a show about two boys living in Chicago, Illinois, who also visited places throughout the show such as Detroit and Kansas City. Kenan (Kenan Thompson) was a high school student with a job at the grocery store, while Kel (Kel Mitchell) was his clumsy, orange soda-loving friend. Schneider guest-starred in an episode and was an executive producer during the first two seasons. He continued working as a consultant for the remainder of the series.
All That is a sketch comedy show, often referred to by the media as the "little brother" of Saturday Night Live. All That won multiple Cable Ace Awards and Kids' Choice Awards. It was one of the longest-running live action series ever on Nickelodeon. The show featured many different comedy sketches, including the popular "Good Burger" sketch (which spun off a 1997 film of the same name). It also featured musical appearances by artists such as Justin Timberlake, Backstreet Boys, Britney Spears, Barenaked Ladies, Usher, Mandy Moore, Aaron Carter, 'N Sync, Avril Lavigne, among others. Schneider quit All That after the first four seasons to run The Amanda Show. The show's ratings soon declined, and it was cancelled in the 2000–2001 season. Nickelodeon then asked Schneider to come back and revamp All That in 2001. Schneider agreed, and All That returned to Nickelodeon in 2002. It ran for another four seasons until 2005, bringing All That to the end of its 10-season run.
Schneider has also been involved in films. He wrote the film Good Burger, which starred Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell (and featured Schneider himself in a supporting role). The film was a successful moneymaker for Paramount Studios, and has begun to enjoy "cult film" status over recent years. Good Burger was spun off from a popular comedy sketch which Schneider produced on his Nickelodeon television show All That.