Nickelodeon has had much success in its unique brand of television programming for children and adolescents, and many of the actors who have gotten their starts there have gone onto some pretty lucrative careers in the entertainment business. While some former Nickelodeon stars used these roles as a launchpad for the rest of their career, others decided to take a step back and opt for a different path. This list takes a look at Nickelodeon’s child stars and what they’ve been up to since their time on the network.
12. Jennette McCurdy
McCurdy first appeared on Nickelodeon on Zoey 101 in 2005, she later went on to have roles in True Jackson, VP and Victorious. She is best known for her role as Sam Puckett on iCarly and its spinoff series, Sam & Cat, which she played from 2007 to 2014. McCurdy currently hosts the podcast “Empty Inside” and opened up about her experiences in the industry. In 2022, she released her bestselling memoir I’m Glad My Mom Died where she further detailed her difficult experiences growing up as a child star.
11. Josh Peck
Josh Peck began working at a young age with his first role at age 13 in Snow Day. He went on to star in Disney’s Max Keeble’s Big Move, and landed a few television gigs including roles in ER, Family Guy and Samurai Jack. He was a regular performer alongside Drake Bell on Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show, and then landed the lead role of Josh Nichols on Drake & Josh. In recent years, Peck has starred in films Locating Silver Lake and Doors, as well as a recurring role on The Mindy Project and alongside John Stamos in Grandfathered.
10. Kenan Thompson
Kenan Thompson has made a successful career from himself after getting his start on Nickelodeon’s sketch comedy show All That and landing the lead in the sitcom Kenan & Kel. He’s starred in films like Good Burger and Fat Albert and is considered one of VH1’s 100 Greatest Teen Stars. He also returned to his sketch comedy roots in 2003 when he joined the cast of Saturday Night Live. As a current performer, he has broken the record for being the longest-serving African American actor on the series, and the record for the most celebrity impressions. In 2011, he married model Christina Evangeline and together they have two daughters.
9. Kel Mitchell
Kel Mitchell and Kenan Thompson were a duet for Nickelodeon and teamed up for Kenan & Kel and Good Burger. Unfortunately, the partnership didn’t continue on Saturday Night Live. Kel auditioned for the show, but the role was given to Kenan. Recently you’d have been able to catch Kel in the television shows Da Jammies, Wild Grinders, and the current Nickelodeon series Game Shakers. He is also reported to be a converted Christian, and busy on the stand up scene. He also competed on the 28th Season of Dancing With The Stars and landed in second place.
8. Michelle Trachtenberg
Back in 1992 this actress got her start on the quirky Nickelodeon show The Adventures of Pete & Pete. And once she played Buffy’s sister on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she took to widespread stardom and never looked back. Since the millennium, Trachtenberg has starred in Eurotrip, Ice Princess, and 17 Again. She’s also been seen in the television series’ Weeds, Six Feet Under, and Gossip Girl. In recent years, Trachtenberg has stepped away from the entertainment industry and has focussed on being a voice against drugs and supporting charity organizations such as DARE America, R.A.D.D, and Kmart Kids Race against Drug Use.
7. Larisa Oleynik
Larisa Oleynik is a classic face of the 1990s and rose to fame on Nickelodeon’s The Secret World of Alex Mack in which she played a regular-girl turned superhuman. She was also in The Baby-Sitter’s Club and 10 Things I Hate About You before the end of the decade. Since then she’s remained a television staple, appearing in series’ like Pretty Little Liars, Hawaii Five-O, and Mad Men. Recently she starred in the horror flick Animal Among Us and the Netflix family series The Healing Powers of Dude.
6. Danny Tamberelli
Getting his start in The Mighty Ducks, Danny Tamberelli was quickly signed on by Nickelodeon to play Little Pete Wrigley in The Adventures of Pete and Pete. And while he is best known for those two roles, he has been in a substantial number of other television series including All That, Fillmore! and voicing the part of Arnold on The Magic School Bus. He’s also been involved in voice acting in the gaming world and provides the voice for Jimmy De Santa in Grand Theft Auto V. He started the “Adventures of Danny & Mike” podcast in 2013 with former Adventures of Pete and Pete costar Michael C. Maronna. He married Katelyn Detweiler in 2018 and the couple welcomed their first child, Alfred, a year later.
5. Meagan Good
Many may be quick to forget that Meagan Good traces her roots back to Nickelodeon as Nina, Bobby’s love interest in Cousin Skeeter! And this girl has been busy ever since. She’s had recurring roles on My Wife and Kids, and Californication, and took up the lead in the TV series Deception. She’s been on the big screen in Stomp the Yard, the Think Like a Man series, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, and The Intruder. In recent years she’s starred in the Amazon original series, Harlem.
4. Lindsay Sloane
Lindsay Sloane has a long history in the biz, but she really rose to prominence on Sabrina, The Teenage Witch as Sabrina’s BFF who is ridiculed by the captain of the cheer squad, Libby Chessman, right alongside Sabrina. The irony is that one of her next roles was as the bitchy cheer captain, Big Red, in Bring It On. She’s also been in hit flicks like She’s Out of My League, Horrible Bosses, and The Other Guys. Most recently, in 2019 she portrayed Billie in the popular drama Endings, Beginnings.
3. Noah Munck
Noah Munck was a child star with bit parts in famous primetime shows including ER, but he landed his breakthrough role as Gibby on iCarly in 2007. His popularity on the show led to discussions of a spin-off, but the plans fell through and Munck was forced to find other gigs. He’s transitioned to the big screen for roles in Bad Teacher, Just Before I Go, and Tom Sawyer & Huckleberry Finn. Since 2012 he’s also been working on his music career and releases EDM under the name NoxiK. His single “Killjoy” has been his most successful tune to date. In the future he’s hoping to also break into writing, directing, and producing, for his own projects.
2. Miranda Cosgrove
Miranda Cosgrove has remained on everyone’s radar since she made her film debut as the band manager in School of Rock. Around the same time, she landed the part of Josh’s little sister on Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh, a role which eventually led to her own show iCarly and a singing career while she was at it. Her 2010 debut album reached #8 on the Billboard 200 chart. Miranda’s acting has moved beyond her days with Nickelodeon. She has done voice over work, playing Margo in the Despicable Me movies, and can be seen as Shea Gunn on Crowded.
1. Drake Bell
Drake Bell actually got his start on Home Improvement but came to fame on Nickelodeon’s The Amanda Show. He was so successful in fact, that he landed his own spin-off show, Drake & Josh. Since his days with those famous Nickelodeon shows, he’s been heavily involved with voice acting, playing the role of Timmy in the Fairly Odd Parents movie trilogy, and the part of Peter Parker in Ultimate Spider-Man. He’s also been busy releasing albums including Ready Steady Go! in 2014. In recent years, Bell has been faced with some tough times. According to Us Weekly, he “pleaded guilty to two criminal counts of attempted child endangerment charges and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles” in June 2021.