A decade-long television rumor revolved around the fact that Nickelodeon’s Zoey 101 got canceled because its star, Jamie Lynn Spears, was pregnant. However, Spears debunked the rumors in 2019, despite the fact that there. is evidence that points to her pregnancy being an area of contention for Nickelodeon, even if it wasn’t the specific reason the show concluded.
‘Zoey 101’ was a hit show for Nickelodeon
The show aired during a time period of classic Nickelodeon television shows that linked kids that grew up during multiple years of the 1990s. Other shows that came on during this time period included Drake & Josh, Unfabulous, and several others.
Zoey 101 was from Dan Schnieder, who has created and/or executive produced other Nickelodeon shows over the years, such as All That, The Amanda Show and Kenan & Kel.
Toplined Jamie Lynn Spears, the show, revolved around students at a fictional boarding school in southern California, Pacific Coast Academy. The students dealt with school, first loves, growing up, and the typical ins and outs of being a teenager.
The series also starred Paul Butcher, Sean Flynn, Kristin Herrera, Christopher Massey, Alexa Nikolas, Erin Sanders, Matthew Underwood, Victoria Justice, and Austin Butler. The show aired for four seasons from January 2005 to May 2008.
In 2019, Spears officially debunked rumors that the show ended because of her pregnancy
When the show’s end was announced first in 2007, rumors ran rampant that the show was canceled because Spears, then 16, was pregnant. These rumors persisted over a decade after the show was off the air, with many thinking this was the reason why Zoey 101 didn’t get more seasons. People thought either the show ended because Spears was pregnant or that Spears quit the show because of her pregnancy.
In early 2019, Spears officially addressed the rumors and debunked them in an Instagram post. In a now-deleted Instagram to commemorate the show’s 14th anniversary, she said, “Are you ready? 14 years later…still a jam. #itdidNOTendbecauseofpregnancy #contractwasfinished.”
When a fan asked, “Oh wow you didn’t quit because you were pregnant, you waited this long to tell us,” she replied with, “Nope…I went home to finish high school and was going to pursue movies.” When someone asked if the contract would have continued if she wasn’t pregnant, Spears replied with “no.”
This all checks out, as it is known that Spears did not find out she was pregnant until after the show concluded. Spears told Glamour in 2012, “I just wanted to go home to Louisiana and finish high school, be a cheerleader, all that. Then I found out I was pregnant. I was 16. I’d had one boyfriend. It doesn’t make it perfect or all right. But I was judged for something that probably most everyone does. I was young. I was in love. I was like every other teenager, except I had this last name. And I made a decision that is forever my decision.”
Media outlets fueled the flames
Media outlets made wild assumptions about Spears’ pregnancy and these assumptions likely had a hand in the rumors that fans insisted upon for years.
On deciding to publicly announce her pregnancy in OK! magazine, Spears told Glamour, “I knew I needed to give an explanation to my fans, and I wanted it to be in my words first. I had to make a decision that I could sleep with every night. I did feel responsible for the young girls and the mothers who I probably confused and let down. I apologize for that. But I wasn’t trying to glamorize teen pregnancy. I hated when [the tabloids] said that. Everybody is dealt a hand of cards. It was my choice to play them the way I played them. But the hateful comments hurt.”
As reported by Glamour, “Parent groups were outraged at the Nickelodeon star, and tabloids printed rumors that Spears had a miscarriage, that she was giving up her baby, and that Aldridge was cheating on her.”
Nickelodeon also released a statement and reportedly had discussions about a potential special
There was also the fact that Nickelodeon itself issued statements at the time about Spears’ pregnancy. An Associated Press report from 2007 even said that the network was considering a special on teen pregnancy due to Spears’ situation.
As the report states, Nickelodeon released a statement shortly after Spears announced her pregnancy. The network said, “We respect Jamie Lynn’s decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation. We know this is a very difficult time for her and her family, and our primary concern right now is for Jamie Lynn’s well being.”
Journalist Linda Ellerbe, who anchored Nick News, spoke to the Associated Press about the potential special and said that it would not focus specifically on Spears. “I think it’s important that something be done. But I think it’s important that it be done in a measured way and not just to feed the beast of news stories. This is a great opportunity for parents at this moment to talk to their kids about this — more important, to listen to their kids about this. Right now what Nick is trying to do — and what I am trying to do — is figure out what is the best thing to do for kids,” she said.
A Nickelodeon spokesperson confirmed to the Associated Press that discussions about the special were happening but said a decision had not been made. And as history has shown us, no special ever aired on the network around sex and teen pregnancy.
‘Zoey 101’ was already done before Spears was pregnant
Overall, despite the fact that Spears said that the show ended because the contract was finished and not her pregnancy, it is clear that her pregnancy was somewhat of a big deal for the network.
The Associated Press report reads, “The company has received a mixed response so far from its viewers, and the news has launched a public discussion about how parents should deal with it. Although Nick executives are still discussing the future of Zoey 101, it’s considered unlikely that it would shelve the final season.” This confirms the fact that the show had already filmed its final season and that Spears’ pregnancy was not the reason that the show ended.
Because the show still had new episodes to air after production had wrapped, fans mistakenly assumed that the show ending and the pregnancy were related. Even if the network would have shockingly pulled the final season, the show was already done by the time Spears announced her pregnancy.