Victorious premiered in 2010 as Nickelodeon’s answer to Hannah Montana and High School Musical, two Disney Channel franchises that amassed a large audience thanks to their combination of teen-oriented plot lines and music performances. Dan Schneider, the man behind Nickelodeon programs like iCarley and Zoey 101, was tasked with the development of a new music-based series that could rival the Disney Channel’s success. Looking for a star actress, he turned to Victoria Justice, a former Zoey 101 cast member who’d turned her attention to music, film, and TV cameos since the show ended in 2008. Justice had also spent some time attending a performing arts middle school, which gave Schneider the inspiration to build his new show around a fictional group of students attending a performing arts high school in Hollywood.
Victorious began shooting in October 2009, with a diverse cast that included several young Broadway stars (Elizabeth Gillies, Ariana Grande, Leon Thomas) and Nickelodeon vets (Avan Jogia, Daniella Monet). As promised, the show also featured plenty of contemporary pop music, most of which -- including the radio single “Freak the Freak Out” -- was performed by Justice. ~ Andrew Leahey