Nickelodeon and Disney Stars Find a Second Act on Podcasts

For three years starting when he was just 12 years old, Devon Werkheiser dispensed advice for bearing the indignities of middle school as the title character in the Nickelodeon series “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. Two decades later, he said, people still recognize him as Ned Bigby.

“There was a time when I wanted to transcend ‘Ned’s,’” Werkheiser said, “but maybe it’s the answer in getting me where I want to go.”

Now 33, he’s made peace with his past and is still giving tips to his peers, only he is using a more modern medium. In “Ned’s Declassified Podcast Survival Guide,” he and his former “Ned’s” castmates Lindsey Shaw and Daniel Curtis Lee dish about the show, which aired from 2004 to 2007, and open up about past personal and career struggles.

The three are among a cohort of former stars, many from Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows from the 2000s, who have started podcasts as a way of connecting with a nostalgic Gen Z and millennial fan base. In doing so, they are embracing roles that they played as children and teenagers — characters that some had spent years trying to move beyond, with mixed success.

“Part of the truth is, if any of our careers were maybe further along, maybe we wouldn’t be doing podcasts,” Werkheiser said in an interview. “There are comments that speak to that as if we don’t know.”

Since the “Ned’s” podcast debuted in February 2023, several exchanges have caused a stir among its 717,000 TikTok followers. Shaw, who played Moze on the show, spoke about her past struggles with substance abuse. Werkheiser gave an emotional account of his time on the set of the troubled Alec Baldwin western “Rust.” And he and Shaw punctured the innocent image of their old show with an awkward exchange about their fumbling offscreen sexual encounters.

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