Here’s the Real Reason Sam Isn’t in the ‘iCarly’ Reboot—& Whether She Could Be in Future Seasons

"iCarly"
Photo: Lisa Rose / © Nickelodeon / Courtesy: Everett Collection.

If you’re a diehard of the original, you may be wondering why Sam isn’t in the iCarly reboot and whether Jennette McCurdy’s character could return for a future season of the revival.

iCarly premiered in 2007 and followed Carly Shay (Miranda Cosgrove), a teenager in Seattle, Washington, who created her own web show named iCarly with her best friends, Sam Puckett  (McCurdy) and Freddie Benson (Nathan Kress), in the apartment loft that she and her older brother, Spencer Shay (Jerry Trainor), live in. The show was created by Dan Schneider, who also created The Amanda Show, Drake & Josh, Zoey 101, Victorious and other Nickelodeon shows. iCarly ran for six seasons until its finale in 2012.

After iCarly‘s finale, McCurdy starred in a spinoff alongside Ariana Grande titled Sam & Cat. The show followed Sam and Grande’s Victorious character, Cat Valentine, as they become roommates and start a babysitting business. The series ran for one season from 2013 to 2014. Given McCurdy’s popularity with Nickelodeon, fans expected her to be in the iCarly revival. So why isn’t Sam in the iCarly reboot? Read on to find out.

Why is Sam not in the iCarly reboot?

In December 2020, news broke that an iCarly reboot, which would take place 10 years after the original series, was in the works with Cosgrove, Kress and Trainor reprising their roles. However, one main cast member who would not be returning was McCurdy, who confirmed in an episode of the podcast, “Empty Inside,” in March that she would not be in the revival. So why is Sam in the iCarly reboot? Well, McCurdy had quit acting after years of resenting her career. “My mom put me in it when I was 6, and by sort of age, I guess, 10 or 11 I was the main financial support for my family,” she said. “It was very much the pressure of my family didn’t have a lot of money, and this was the way out,” she said. “Which I actually think was helpful in driving me to some degree of success.”

McCurdy’s mom, Debbie, died in September 2013 after a 17-year-long battle with breast cancer. On the podcast, McCurdy revealed that her mom’s death led her to reevaluate her acting career and roles she’s played in the past, including Sam. “I ultimately quit after my mom passed away, because with her death kind of died a lot of her ideas for my life, and that was its own journey and a difficult one for sure,” she said. She went on to reveal that her acting career left her “so unfulfilled by the roles that I played and felt like it was the most just cheesy, embarrassing” thing. She continued, “I resent my career in a lot of ways.”

In the iCarly reboot, Laci Mosley will play Harper, Carly’s roommate and one of her best friends. According to the show’s press release, Harper, who is pansexual, is described as an aspiring fashion stylist who dreams of a career in fashion after her wealthy family lost all of their money. After the announcement of Harper, Mosley was the target of racist attacks from who saw the character as a replacement for Sam. iCarly writer Franchesca Ramsey responded in a tweet at the time, defending Mosley and denying that the character was meant to replace Sam.

Carly’s new best friend/roommate will be part of the LGBTQ+ community as a pansexual character who dreams of becoming a fashion stylist after her wealthy family lost all of their money. The character will also serve to push Carly out of her comfort zone as they confront day to day obstacles. “Hey #iCarly tweeps! I’m seeing a looooot of racist abuse being hurled at one of our stars & I’d love if you’d join me in calling it out it when/if you see it,” she tweeted in May. “I’m sad this has to be said but if I’m being honest…I kinda expected it. And I hate that. It’s heart breaking that Black women just EXISTING results in an onslaught of racist abuse. It’s not ok. And being a bystander isn’t ok either.”

She continued, “Laci’s character Harper isn’t replacing Sam. No one could replace Jeanette McCurdy or her incredible talent! But it’s both racist as hell & completely unfair to decide that Laci hasn’t earned her role especially since the show isn’t even out yet!!”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly in June, Cosgrove confirmed that the show will address Sam’s absence. “Definitely, we touch a lot on the whole relationship with Sam and where Sam’s at in the pilot episode,” she said. “And then we mention her a little bit throughout the season, so we’ll definitely explain that on the show.”

The iCarly reboot is available to stream on Paramount+.

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