What We Know About Amanda Bynes' Past Working With Dan Schneider

Amanda Bynes became widely famous in 1996 when she joined the cast of the hit Nickelodeon series "All That." Bynes was clearly a naturally gifted actress and comedian, and she soon moved on from the show to her own series titled "The Amanda Show." She eventually went on to star in a string of well-received and beloved films, and even returned to TV to co-star with Jennie Garth in "What I Like About You." But behind just about every hit series and movie that Bynes worked on was Dan Schneider, the writer and producer whom Nickelodeon parted ways with in 2018 amid a storm of allegations of abuse and inappropriate conduct. 

As much as Bynes is celebrated for her work on the big and small screens, she is also notorious for her struggles off the set. After being involuntarily hospitalized for 30 days in 2013, Bynes was placed under a conservatorship controlled by her parents. Over the years, she has opened up about her struggles with mental health and substance use and admitted to using a number of drugs in a 2018 interview with Paper.

Through it all, Amanda Bynes' fans have rooted for her, but some have raised concerns about her relationship with Schneider over the years.

Dan Schneider was a writer on the TV show All That

Dan Schneider's career kicked off with his work at Nickelodeon, where he worked as a writer for a number of shows over the course of two decades. One of his earliest shows was the hit series "All That," which featured an ensemble cast of teens and was styled as a sketch comedy show for kids, by kids. While Schneider's time at the network was considered a success by many, in more recent years, the writer and producer has come under fire as many began to pause and reflect on this era. 

In 2022, Insider published a report in which Schneider's on-set behavior was reexamined and scrutinized. The outlet points out that some of the scenes Schneider shot were inappropriate such as when a then-underage Jamie Lynn Spears got some kind of goo squirted on her face in a possibly suggestive manner. Russell Hicks, who previously worked as Nickelodeon's president of content development insisted to Insider: "Every single thing that Dan ever did on any of his shows was carefully scrutinized and approved."

Amanda Bynes joined the cast of All That in 1996

Bubbly, energetic preteen Amanda Bynes leaped into the public consciousness in 1996 when she joined the cast of "All That." As Paper reported, Bynes was the youngest of three children and loved acting from a young age. In fact, she had an agent by the time she was 7 years old and began working in commercial after commercial shortly thereafter. 

The magazine wrote that Bynes was attending a Los Angeles comedy camp for kids when she was spotted by a female Nickelodeon executive who asked her parents if she could audition for "All That" — a thrilling prospect for Bynes. "It was a dream come true," Bynes told Paper. "It was unbelievable for me."

In a 2022 interview, co-star Kel Mitchell opened up to Yahoo! Entertainment about what it was like to work with Bynes on the set of "All That." As he put it, she was a delight. "What was cool about Amanda was that she was just fearless, that's what I loved," Mitchell said. "Because I'm a physical comedian as well." Mitchell also shared that Bynes' dad asked him if he would be open to teaching Bynes about physical comedy and essentially take her under his comedic wing, which Mitchell agreed to do. Based on what Mitchell told the outlet, it seems Bynes made this pretty easy for him: "And this girl ... I'm talking about like a sponge. Like, listened to everything," he said.

Dan Schneider conceptualized The Amanda Show

Three years after coming on board at "All That," Amanda Bynes found out she would be getting her very own show at the behest of producer Dan Schneider. Bynes was just 13 years old when she debuted "The Amanda Show" on October 16, 1999, and Entertainment Tonight later recalled how excited she was about the project. She clearly realized how special an opportunity it was and told the outlet: "It's so cool. When I did 'All That,' it's the same crew. It's like my family here."

Unfortunately, not everything behind the scenes at "The Amanda Show" was okay, even though that wasn't public knowledge at the time. In 2000, writer Jenny Kilgen (one of only two women writers at the show) filed a lawsuit against Storybook Productions that accused the company — but not Schneider or anyone specifically — of gender discrimination as well as creating a hostile work environment.

As IndieWire reported, Kilgen's lawsuit included a number of disturbing allegations and included a letter from the other woman writer that insisted Schneider asked herself and Kilgen to "perform embarrassing acts for money, including simulating 'being sodomized' while telling a story about her high school years."

There were rumors that Amanda Bynes was taking Adderall while filming The Amanda Show

Amanda Bynes has been open about her struggles with drug use and addiction in recent years and has been especially vocal about using the prescription medication Adderall. In 2018, Bynes told Paper that her trouble with Adderall coincided with the filming of the 2007 film "Hairspray" and explained that she was "reading an article in a magazine that [called Adderall] 'the new skinny pill' and they were talking about how women were taking it to stay thin. I was like, 'Well, I have to get my hands on that."

However, there are also claims that Bynes was encouraged to take the medication at a much younger age, though Bynes herself has not issued any comments that support this theory. Fans have speculated on platforms such as X (formerly Twitter) about the possibility, though no one has come forward to substantiate any of these rumors. In August 2019, @ObiscureNick wrote that Bynes was a "favorite" of the adults who worked around her because "her parents did not interfere at all." More disturbingly, "they even feed her adderall ... to make her more hyper for the scenes."

The Amanda Show ended abruptly in 2002

Fans of "The Amanda Show" were surprised and disappointed when it went off the air in 2002, only three years after its debut. More confusingly, a clear answer wasn't given for why the show was no longer on TV, it was as if it just ceased to exist. 

While the show was running, Dan Schneider would sometimes make a guest appearance. However, in the wake of Amanda Bynes' ongoing mental and emotional health concerns, fans looked back at his cameos in a new light. One running segment on the show would feature Bynes in a hot tub with different guests, or with actors pretending to be someone famous, such as Queen Elizabeth II. At one point, Schneider himself shows up in the hot tub with the teenager (via X).

If there was an official explanation from Schneider or someone involved with the show as to why it ended, it seems that explanation has been lost over the years. In 2015, MTV dug up a since-deleted blog post of Schneider's that explained "Moody's Point" — a show within "The Amanda Show" that ended at the same time as its parent production. Schneider fought for "Moody's Point" to have its own standalone spin-off but was unsuccessful, which begs the question of whether the reason had something to do with Bynes. Notably, there was eventually a spin-off of "The Amanda Show" called "Drake & Josh," but Bynes had nothing to do with it.

Dan Schneider created Amanda Bynes' first movie

The ending of "The Amanda Show" did not mean the ending of the working relationship between Amanda Bynes and Dan Schneider. Bynes soon picked up the role of Kaylee in "Big Fat Liar," the 2002 film that Schneider created with Bynes in mind. The movie co-starred Frankie Muniz and was a hit with director Shawn Levy of "Stranger Things" who praised Bynes in a 2020 interview with Forbes. As Levy told the outlet, her work on the movie was exceptional. 

"Amanda was really comfortable with improv," Levy said. "I remember that she would come up with ideas that weren't scripted and I would throw ideas out at her that weren't scripted, and she could just roll with it in a way that most young performers can't."

However, Bynes declined to speak to the outlet at the time of the interview, as did Schneider and Muniz. At the time, Bynes was focused on her recovery from substance use, Muniz had just gotten married and was expecting his first child, and Schneider had been let go from Nickelodeon two years prior. Despite that tough reality for Bynes, Levy also shared what he thinks made the movie so special: "It is so innocent in its desire to have a good time and to give audiences a good time."

Dan Schneider then created What I Like About You for Amanda Bynes

Amanda Bynes and Dan Schneider continued to work together following the release of "Big Fat Liar," and the next project that Schneider created with Bynes in mind was a sitcom called "What I Like About You." The show co-starred Jennie Garth, who played Bynes' older sister. The pair end up living together after their dad gets a job transfer to Japan, and high jinks ensues.

In a review of the show in 2002, Variety wrote: "Nothing even remotely deep here, but with the confidence of more mature leading ladies, Bynes carries the load, bringing an utter charm to even the most chaotic moments." In other words, Bynes made the show as great as it was. In fact, the actress made it clear 20 years later that the show is still special to her.

In a 2022 interview, Bynes told TMZ that she would love to explore rebooting the series. "I think it's a great idea to reboot the show," Bynes said. "I miss them and would love to work with them again. I don't miss acting but I loved this show, so I'd be down to return to acting for this revival. It would be a great experience to continue the show." Bynes also shared that she hadn't spoken with anyone else connected to the series about a reboot, and it's unclear if Schneider would be expected to return.

Amanda Bynes almost moved in with Dan Schneider when she was 16

The relationship that Amanda Bynes had and/or has with her parents Rick and Lynn Bynes has often been described as difficult or estranged, particularly as Bynes has struggled with her emotional and mental health. According to a report in People, things between the three began to take a negative turn when Bynes was a teenager — she even went as far as to explore legally emancipating herself from her parents and moving in with Dan Schneider and his wife, Lisa Lillien. Schneider and Lillien have not commented too much on this, but Lillien did speak about the situation briefly. 

"She was spending a lot of time with us. But she never left her [family's] house," Lillien said in 2022. Another source close to the family at the time told People that Bynes struggled the most with her father. As they put it: "Her parents were very, very strict with Amanda. Her dad called all the shots and was very controlling."

In 2007, Bynes appeared on "The Tonight Show" and credited her father with laying the foundation of her success in comedy after she joked with him while he was in the audience. "[My parents] actually were very strict ... My parents never let me go to the mall alone or with friends. ... But as you can see, that's where I got my love of comedy — from my funny dad," she told Jay Leno (via YouTube).

Amanda Bynes experienced a public breakdown in 2013

It became clear to the public that Amanda Bynes was up against a lot internally when she experienced a breakdown in 2013. Following a series of disturbing events, Bynes was placed in an involuntary 30-day psychiatric hold following a two-week stay at a hospital. Bynes' parents were eventually named her conservators, and Bynes experienced a series of ups and downs in the decade that followed. 

Bynes has a loyal and loving base of fans who have been worried about her over the years, and many were unable to stop themselves from doing their own digging. A number of child stars have been open about the numerous ways that fame can be devastating, and it's possible that Bynes was simply too famous at too young an age.

However, some fans think that there might be something even darker behind Bynes' suffering. In 2018, the website Crazy Days & Nights posted a Blind Item allegedly written by Bynes soon after Dan Schneider was fired from Nickelodeon. The site claims Bynes wrote: "thank you for all of your ongoing support. i Don't know how Any of these meN sleep at night, but if there's one thing that i Do know Is that what's Done In the dark, always comes to lighT! xoxo" and that the capitalized letters in the message spell "Dan did it." What the "it" refers to is currently unknown, though many on X have speculated it alludes to some kind of abuse.

Dan Schneider was let go from Nickelodeon in 2018 amid allegations of abuse

In 2018, Dan Schneider was let go as a longtime writer and producer at Nickelodeon among the myriad allegations of mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse that followed him. The network and Schneider released a joint official statement that explained the end of their working relationship and that it happened at a "natural time." But allegations that quickly arose seemed to dispute at least part of that statement (via People).

One allegation against Schneider that concerned a lot of people was that he allegedly had a fondness for photos of his young stars' feet (via X). A writer at Deadline noted that Schneider was known to tweet photos of the toes of his young female talent. Schneider described his interest in the feet of the children who starred in his shows as "goofy and funny" with "no effort to sexualize his young stars" (via The New York Times). "The comedy was totally innocent," he said.

Still, in 2022 the Los Angeles Times revealed that an ongoing investigation into Schneider's time at the network had uncovered even more disturbing patterns. Some of those allegations are that Schneider wanted "the most revealing" costumes on underage girls in the shows and that he "created an uncomfortable, bizarre environment that he ruled over like a fiefdom." While Amanda Bynes has never officially commented on the allegations, their existence does make one wonder.

Amanda Bynes and Dan Schneider's relationship was examined in the documentary Quiet on Set

In 2024, Amanda Bynes and fellow child star Drake Bell of "Drake & Josh" fame were the subjects of a documentary called "Quiet on Set: The Dark Side of Kids TV," which looked at how child stars were allegedly abused by Dan Schneider. Editor Karyn Finley Thompson, who worked for Nickelodeon at the time, said that Schneider and Bynes had a "very close" physical relationship. "There were many times that I saw Amanda sitting behind him hugging him, or like giving him a neck massage or whatever," she said (via Entertainment Weekly). "Dan and Amanda had a close relationship, and I didn't think anything different than that." Bell added that he never saw anything he thought was abnormal: "This was in the throes of a lot that I was dealing with personally, but no, I mean, I just saw a really talented, amazing actress, and no, I never saw anything."

Schneider made a video response to the documentary after it was released. In his statement, he explained that he had tried to help Bynes while she was attempting to "legally emancipate herself from her parents." Once, he alleged, she called him in the middle of the night after having a fight with them. "She was in distress," he said (via Entertainment Weekly), adding, "I was immediately concerned for her safety." He claimed that he arranged for someone to pick her up.