May 3, 2024 - News

Twin Cities area reporter featured in "Quiet on Set" documentary about Nickelodeon child actors

A movie screen with "Quiet on Set" title page showing

Photo: Gonzalo Marroquin/Getty Images for Investigation Discovery

When Rick Ellis was interviewed on camera for "Quiet on Set," the Minnesota-based reporter didn't know whether the documentary would blow up. But after screening the final episodes, he recognized it would be big.

Why it matters: Ellis' past TV industry reporting — from his Inver Grove Heights home — is featured in the docuseries that covers alleged abuse of Nickelodeon's child stars in the 2000s.

Stunning stat: In the 10 days after its March premiere, "Quiet on Set" captured more than 16 million viewers, the largest audience of an unscripted series since the launch of streaming service Max, according to Deadline.

Context: Ellis previously worked in TV news, which brought him to Minnesota.

  • Following a layoff, he began freelancing about the television industry using sources from a prior role covering media companies for a news startup.

Catch up fast: The Max series focuses on the power producers have over kids and their families, and some of the sexually suggestive jokes that made it into the network's top shows.

  • It also covers the sexual assault of star Drake Bell by a crew member.

Ellis wrote about the allegations in 2018 and beyond on his AllYourScreens website.

The big picture: Nickelodeon has not confirmed the allegations in the series but said it has since "adopted numerous safeguards."

  • Ellis told Axios that Nickelodeon's requirement for background checks for anyone interacting with kids will make abuse less likely to happen.
  • But the key going forward across the industry, he said, is "educating the parents better, so that they understand what kind of rights they have."
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