Children that grew up in the 1990s and early 2000s all know how coveted it was to have their parents pay a little bit extra for the kids-only Nickelodeon channel. The adolescent stars that made up some of our fave shows, such as All That, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, and Kenan & Kel, were simply the coolest, and we all yearned to be a part of their cliques — or at least get slimed. While some stars, including the likes of Ariana Grande or Emma Roberts, found a way to turn their early television success into long-term careers, others remarkably decided to step away from the spotlight when they were at the very top, à la Jamie Lynn Spears.
Nonetheless, not all budding A-listers-in-training went on to have flourishing spots in the limelight, filled with success and endless amounts of dough. While being a child star worshiped by children is good until a certain point, fans get older, and some actors have had trouble transitioning into the world of grown-up entertainment. Let’s look at some Nickelodeon stars who aren’t nearly as rich as you’d think.
Nickelodeon star Lori Beth Denberg still gives vital information
Lori Beth Denberg was a fan-favorite during her time on Nickelodeon’s sketch show, All That. Appearing frequently in her own sketches, such as « Vital Information » and « The Loud Librarian, » there was no denying Denberg had some iconic roles.
These days, the actress still tries to keep up with acting, with her net worth coming in at a reported $750,000. So, what else does she do? As it turns out, Denberg is also an ordained minister! « It’s my favorite thing to do. I got ordained as a minister to marry my oldest friend in the world to his now-wife, » she dished to ABC News. « I wrote a whole specialized ceremony for them and people just loved it. They said, ‘This is so great. You should do this. You should offer this service.’ So, I took their advice! »
As for giving fans advice as she did on « Vital Information » so long ago? « People always ask me to do it and I never do, » Denberg told HuffPost. « We also just started giving, like, actual adult vital information. At Comic-Con in New York, we were like, ‘If you’re going to rent an apartment, get renter’s insurance. It’s in your best interest.' » She did warm hearts in May 2019, however, as she made a guest appearance as the Loud Librarian yet again for Nickelodeon’s All That reboot.
The post-Nickelodeon adventures of Danny Tamberelli
The floppy-haired Danny Tamberelli was a ’90s Nickelodeon staple, starring in childhood faves such as All That, The Adventures of Pete & Pete, and Figure It Out. Although his face was once so easily recognizable, Tamberelli hasn’t really stuck to any mainstream acting and reportedly has a net worth of an estimated $1.1 million.
Instead, Tamberelli founded a YouTube sketch comedy channel, ManBoobs Comedy, while also taking his troupe on tour for comedy shows. For those of you yearning for the days of slimy yesteryear, you’ll be happy to know that The Adventures of Pete & Pete star has reunited with his former partner in crime, Mike Maronna, for a weekly podcast called The Adventures of Danny & Mike. « The podcast got started at the end of one month when Danny couldn’t make rent, » Maronna quipped to The Washington Times. « On the 31st he said, ‘We should do this podcast.’ Five days later we got Danny some rent money. »
Besides his professional endeavors, the New Jersey native has been busy starting a family with wife Katelyn Detweiler, welcoming their newborn son, Alfred Noel, in June 2019. Another pastime of Tamberelli’s? Trolling Kim Kardashian on Instagram.
Are you afraid of a Canadian winter?
Ross Hull has proven he isn’t afraid of the dark — or Canadian weather, for that matter. The Montreal-bred actor totally switched gears after his time on Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark? to become a meteorologist for Global News back in his home country.
The horror show vet spoke to The Globe and Mail about how Nickelodeon helped pave his future success. « Dark? paved the way for me to continue not only in acting but my transition into journalism and meteorology, » he explained. « A couple of years ago I was in New York City for the book launch of Slimed by Mathew Klickstein … [and] I was shocked at the number of fans who traveled from all over the U.S. to be [there]. » Hull added, « That’s what fueled the creation of my YouTube channel, Guy From That Show. »
So, what does Hull think of the Nick reboot of the classic show that made him famous? He’s a bit disappointed he wasn’t asked to return. « I don’t take it personally by any means, » the actor, whose reported net worth is an estimated $1 million, dished to TMZ. « But it would be nice to be a part of it, you know, a cameo … I think people are longing for that feeling they had with these shows and perhaps some of them want to see where some of the cast members are now. »
Devon Werkheiser still has a declassified guide for all of us
It was common knowledge that every kid wanted to be Devon Werkheiser’s BFF when he played the titular character on Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide in the early noughties. We’re happy to report that he’s undoubtedly still kept busy since he left the show at age 15. Even better? He’s still dishing out the advice.
According to Teen Vogue, Werkheiser decided to bounce off the success of the Nickelodeon show and start his own YouTube channel, focusing on a series called Devon’s Life Survival Guide. As the actor wrote on his channel, the series « continues what Ned started, reminding us we are not alone and talking about ways to improve our lives and get through it better. » Aw! « People still tweet me or contact me [saying], ‘You helped me survive school’ [or] ‘I use all the tips and I wrote them down,' » Werkheiser gushed to MTV News. « And that’s awesome. That’s a great feeling. »
When he’s not busy YouTubing, the former child star also works on music as a singer-songwriter — and has a reported net worth of $200,000. Werkheiser explained to the media outlet, « [With] acting, I’m always working to get someone to see me and hire me. Music, I can make anytime. I can sing at any point. » Who knew Ned would be as inspiring as he was helpful?
This Nickelodeon star went from Logan Reese to real-life hero
Matthew Underwood was every girl’s tween crush when he played Logan Reese on Zoey 101. He quietly left Hollywood after the series dissolved in 2008, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t been in the news.
The cousin of country singer Carrie Underwood has had a few unfortunate run-ins with the law, such as getting arrested for drug charges with a minor in 2012, per E! News. If that wasn’t enough for the then-troubled star, he was arrested yet again that same year for allegedly violating his 12-month probation. Yikes! Thankfully, not all of Underwood’s drug-related endeavors made headlines for the negative. Instead, the former actor was dubbed a hero in 2017 after he rescued an infant from a car crash in Florida — where the parents had overdosed on heroin. « I thought maybe they were having a heart attack. As far as I was concerned, they looked dead, » Underwood revealed to WPTV. « I heard a baby cry and that’s when I really stopped caring about anything that was going on there and I immediately ran around the other side of the car and looked for the baby. »
While he’s not rescuing children from cars, Underwood has been working as a director, making small-project videos and even directing a music video for former co-star Jamie Lynn Spears! Underwood has a reported net worth of $1 million.
Where’s Josh to help Nickelodeon’s Drake Bell?
Drake & Josh star Drake Bell has had some peculiar luck since the show’s end in 2007. For starters, he hasn’t stopped working — yet still filed for bankruptcy in 2014. According to the filing obtained by E! News, the actor-musician « [owned] $1.575 million in real estate and $10,500 in personal property, but [had] debts of around $2.166 million. » With his monthly expenses reportedly totaling over $18,000, Bell alleged to have an average income of $2,820. We’ll let you do the math.
Bell hasn’t had too much luck outside of his financial woes, either. As revealed by TMZ, the former child star was sentenced to 96 hours in jail in 2016 for his second DUI conviction. Upon leaving prison, Bell attended an alcohol education program and was placed under four years probation.
So, where’s his once real-life BFF and on-screen brother, Josh Peck, to help him out? Totally MIA, as the entire world found out. According to E! News, when Peck got married in 2017, he invited most of his former Nickelodeon co-stars — except Bell. Bell was clearly disgruntled, posting cryptic messages on Twitter and subsequently deleting them. « I was caught off guard, » the actor told People. « He’s been my best friend for 18 years … I was just expecting. » Thankfully, the duo eventually hugged it out later in the year, causing all die-hard fans to seriously rejoice.
From Aaron’s party riches to bankruptcy
From the moment Aaron Carter stepped out on stage at nine years old to open for older brother Nick’s band the Backstreet Boys, he was a tween sensation. With hits like « Aaron’s Party, » the younger Carter bro was rolling in dough. A regular on Nickelodeon, the former child star guest-starred on various shows, such as Sabrina the Teenage Witch and All That, with his songs playing on the channel, as well. Then suddenly, he disappeared from the spotlight.
In 2013, fans were shocked to find out that Carter had filed for bankruptcy. « Over the last 10 years, my story’s been really difficult, » the singer revealed on Oprah: Where Are They Now — Extra (via HuffPost). « No one has any idea what happened to me. It was almost like 10 years that I had not stopped working for my family. » By the time he was 18, Carter had learned his parents left him owing $4 million in tax liens — and only $2 million in his account. « I should have had at least $20 million, » he revealed.
As time has gone by, things unfortunately haven’t gotten better. Per E! News, 2017 saw Carter arrested for alleged DUI and marijuana possession, followed by a rehab stint the following year. However, Carter worried fans with a video on Instagram in October 2019, which saw him getting a face tattoo. We’re really hoping Aaron’s party has stopped for good.
Nickelodeon’s Nate Richert is the handyman we all need in our lives
Nate Richert was a total ’90s heartthrob when he was cast as Harvey Kinkle on Sabrina, the Teenage Witch. Winning the hearts of teens everywhere, you’d think he’d go on to have a successful career — yet his acting credits after the show’s run ended in 2003 are minuscule, and he’s worth only $150 thousand. So, what exactly happened?
Not a whole lot, apparently. When a fan tweeted in 2018 asking where he’s been after his stint on Sabrina, the actor revealed, « Anxiety and subsequent depression were my major game stoppers. Took a decade to learn how to cope and overcome. Back then, all I knew was something was wrong with me, that I was broken and unworthy; all that fantastic BS anxiety likes to ruin your life with. » Yup, just like that, our hearts collectively broke. Richert then went on to explain that he does whatever it takes to get by, noting, « I’m currently a maintenance man, a janitor, a carpenter, and do whatever random jobs I can get to pay the bills. I do improv. »
When he’s not busy with work or his improv, the Nickelodeon alum makes folk music, having released three albums to date. We at Nicki Swift wish him all the best!
Did an internet hoax derail Kel Mitchell’s career?
Kel Mitchell wants you to know he’s alive and well! The Kenan & Kel star was the victim of a bizarre joke in the mid-noughties when an internet hoax went around that the actor was dead. « That was crazy, » Mitchell explained to HuffPost in 2014. « I think it started on MySpace because that’s when MySpace was popular. I had family members calling me and calling my parents saying, ‘Is Kel okay?’ … But afterward, it was kind of cool with people going, I mean not the action of it was cool, but it was like when people discovered that I was alive, it was just like, ‘Oh, okay. Well, what else is he doing?' »
So, what else has Mitchell been doing? Since famously getting beaten by former co-star Kenan Thompson for a Saturday Night Live audition, the staple Nick actor has stuck to the channel, lending his voice and face to numerous children’s shows. Oh, and he boasts an estimated net worth of $2 million. « I’ve been starring in a lot of different shows like Sam & Cat on Nickelodeon, » Mitchell dished to HuffPost. « I’ve been fortunate to still be in this business and still be able to work in really great jobs. »
For those of you yearning for some All That nostalgia, Mitchell decided to surprise his fans and reunite with Thompson in 2015 for a throwback « Good Burger » skit on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
The original face of Nickelodeon’s All That is finally back
Josh Server’s face became synonymous with the Nickelodeon show All That, as he was the only cast member to stick around for all six original seasons. However, after his time with the series came to a close, the actor continued on with a few more Nick projects, before quietly disappearing from the spotlight with a reported net worth of $250,000.
« I’ve been finding my way back to [acting] in smaller doses, » Server explained to Bustle in 2014. « But recently, I’ve really made a commitment to go all out and really start doing it a high level and things are really starting to happen. » The effort must be paying off, as Server has been landing steady work since 2017, starring in indie flicks and also reuniting with his old castmates Lori Beth Denberg and Kel Mitchell for the All That reboot in 2019.
« It’s always a little nerve-wracking to see how you’ll be perceived after all these years of somebody knowing you in a certain way, » Server admitted to Bustle. « I want you to understand that we’re all really grateful … [the continued attention] makes us feel like we were a part of something really special. » Considering his fans adored him as the iconic Ear Boy during his original tenure on All That, we’re confident they’ll be just as happy to continue watching him light up both big and little screens for years to come.
Larisa Oleynik believes in quality over quantity
Larisa Oleynik was set for superstardom in the 1990s, having appeared in numerous iconic teen flicks and her time on Nickelodeon playing the titular character in The Secret World of Alex Mack. At the time, USA Today (via the Web Archive) dubbed her the « proverbial girl next door, » noting that her series shot up to Nick’s top three in less than a year of being on air. « I had no idea it’d be so big, » Oleynik told the Sun Sentinel in 1999. Being as popular as she was, you’d think that she’d be swimming in the spoils of her fame, yet her net worth comes in at $4 million — a lot less than you’d consider for the once-in-demand starlet.
It’s not that Oleynik hasn’t been acting, however. She’s certainly found regular work throughout the years, having recurring roles in Pretty Little Liars, Mad Men, and Hawaii Five-0, to name a few. But she’s not necessarily looking for a quick buck. « I always find things that are challenging, » the 10 Things I Hate About You actress explained to BuzzFeed News. « Whatever life this show has or doesn’t have, it is a reminder of the way that you want to feel in your work and the kinds of stuff you want to be seeking out. It’s always more fun when you’re challenging every part of yourself. »
A tragic spiral from a Nickelodeon elite
Amanda Bynes was once Nickelodeon’s It girl, rising to fame on All That, which translated into her own spin-off show, The Amanda Show. However, perhaps her sudden rise to the A-list contributed to her subsequent downfall, joining the ranks of Lindsay Lohan and Macaulay Culkin as a poster child for young stars gone wrong.
Once on the list of Teen People‘s « 25 Hottest Stars Under 25 » in 2006, Bynes’ career suddenly started spiraling when she announced her retirement in 2010 on her Twitter account (via The Wrap). « I don’t love acting anymore so I stopped doing it, » the former child star wrote. « I know 24 is a young age to retire but you heard it here first. » Remarkably, to this day, Bynes still hasn’t done any other films past her release of Easy A that same year. Unfortunately, things only went from bad to worse with an alleged DUI in 2012. By 2013, the actress was left out of control of her finances when her mother was granted temporary conservatorship. A year later, Bynes was hospitalized under psychiatric hold.
Although her future looked promising after an interview with Paper in 2018, where she revealed she was looking forward to returning to acting, the Hairspray actress found herself relapsing in 2019. At the time of this writing, Bynes is reportedly staying in a sober living group home. We’re wishing her all the best in her recovery.