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Former Nickelodeon Stars Speak Out: Unpaid Residuals and the Fight for Fair Compensation

Devon Werkheiser / Nickelodeon/ Child Actor/ SAG-AFTRA/ Entertainment/ Landon Buford The Journalist/ Landon
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Nickelodeon, a beloved children’s network that has entertained generations with its iconic shows, is now facing backlash from some of its former stars. Devon Werkheiser and Giovonnie Samuels, both actors on popular Nickelodeon shows, recently took to TikTok to reveal that they have never received residuals for their work on the network. Their candid revelations shed light on an ongoing issue in the entertainment industry, where streaming services profit from content without adequately compensating the artists who create it. As the voices of former child stars join the chorus of discontent, the call for fair residuals and compensation for their work grows louder.

In his TikTok post, Devon Werkheiser, best known for his role as Ned Bigby in “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” expressed his frustration over the absence of residuals for his work on the show. Despite its global popularity and widespread syndication, Werkheiser stated that he had never seen a single residual or royalty payment due to a detrimental deal struck at the time of the show’s run.

Giovonnie Samuels, who appeared on seasons 7 through 9 of “All That,” echoed Werkheiser’s sentiments. In her own TikTok video, she revealed that she had never received any residuals for her work on the popular comedy series.

According to Werkheiser, during the show’s original run from 2004 to 2007, the cast couldn’t negotiate their contracts effectively due to their deals with SAG-AFTRA at the time. This restriction left them without the ability to secure better compensation terms, resulting in the ongoing absence of residuals from streaming services.

Samuels, who was fortunate enough to live off her residuals during the 2007 writers’ strike, faced a new challenge as streaming services gained prominence. As the landscape evolved, she lost her SAG health insurance and saw meager returns from streaming residuals for her past work.

Devon Werkheiser called streaming services’ refusal to change residual pay practices “horses—t” and urged fans to support SAG-AFTRA and WGA amid their ongoing strikes. He advocated for a world where businesses shared their profits with the artists who create the content, ensuring that everyone benefits from the success.

Giovonnie Samuels stressed that if others continue to profit from her work, she deserves to be compensated fairly. Her call for just remuneration resonates with the growing number of actors and celebrities speaking out against streaming services’ lack of residual pay.

Werkheiser and Samuels are not alone in their fight for fair compensation. Celebrities like Mandy Moore, Ellen Pompeo, and Sean Gunn have also criticized streamers for their failure to adequately compensate artists for their work.

SAG-AFTRA‘s recent decision to join the Writers Guild of America (WGA) in a strike highlights the seriousness of the situation. The entertainment industry is witnessing a collective demand for fair pay, better contracts, and guidelines for the use of artificial intelligence in media.

The revelations of former Nickelodeon stars Devon Werkheiser and Giovonnie Samuels have brought to light the issue of unpaid residuals and the fight for fair compensation in the entertainment industry. Their candid statements resonate with many actors who feel they deserve better treatment for their creative contributions.

As the momentum for change continues to build, the call for fair residuals and compensation for artists’ work grows louder. The industry’s actors, writers, and artists are united in their demand for a more equitable system that ensures they are adequately rewarded for their contributions to the art that brings joy to millions worldwide. The time has come for streaming services to recognize and respect the value of their creative talent and work towards a more equitable future for all involved.

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Written by Byron Nelson

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