Jamie Lynn Spears is taking us back to Pacific Coast Academy for a nostalgic throwback, and also setting the record straight about the reason that her hit Nickelodeon series Zoey 101 really came to an end.
Jan. 9, 2019 marked the 14th anniversary of Zoey 101, the beloved teen drama that made Jamie Lynn Spears a star in her own right, and Spears celebrated the occasion by reposting the show's iconic theme song. But Jamie Lynn Spears' Instagram about Zoey 101 did more than just celebrate the past — she also revealed the real reason why the series got canceled.
It has officially been 14 years since Zoey Brooks first arrived at Pacific Coast Academy, even though it may not feel like it was that long ago. Zoey 101 premiered at the start of 2005. The series aired along other nostalgic live-action favorites from the network including Drake & Josh, Unfabulous, Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, and iCarly. It also held the distinction of being Nickelodeon's most expensive production ever since it was filmed on location in Malibu. But most importantly, the show introduced fans to beloved characters like Zoey Brooks, Chase Matthews, and Logan Reese.
The Zoey 101 theme song "Follow Me" also quickly became iconic, showcasing Jamie Lynn Spears' singing talents for the first time. So it was a fitting tribute for Spears to post a snippet of the song to honor the 14th anniversary of Zoey 101's premiere.
A post shared by Jamie Lynn Spears (@jamielynnspears) on
It is a sweet, nostalgic post, but the real scoop came in the hashtags that Jamie Lynn Spears wrote in the caption. Alongside the video, Spears emphasized that Zoey 101 did not end because of her pregnancy:
“Are you ready?” she captioned the post, which features a clip from the show’s irresistible theme song. “14 years later...still a jam. #itdidNOTendbecauseofpregnancy #contractwasfinished.”
At the end of 2007, as the third season of Zoey 101 was about to finish airing, news broke that then 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears was pregnant by her then-boyfriend Casey Aldridge. Zoey 101 premiered its fourth season just a couple of weeks after its third season ended, and concluded the show with that as its final season. The final episode of the show aired in May of 2008 and Maddie was born in June of that same year. In addition to Maddie, Spears is also mother to 8-month-old daughter Ivey Joan, whom she shares with husband Jamie Watson. Because of the timing, fans naturally assumed that Spears' pregnancy must have been the reason for the show's abrupt cancellation. But now Jamie Lynn Spears is finally revealing the truth, it seems. According to her captions, Zoey 101 ended simply because the contracts were up after four seasons.
Shortly after Jamie Lynn formally announced her pregnancy in December 2007, Nickelodeon released a statement expressing “respect” for her “decision to take responsibility in this sensitive and personal situation.” They added, "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."
Fans flooded the comments with support, as well as follow-up questions about that tea-filled hashtag. “Oh wow you didn’t quit because you were pregnant, you waited this long to tell us,” one follower wrote. Jamie Lynn replied, “Nope...I went home to finish high school and was going to pursue movies."
“Would the contract have been extended if not for pregnancy?” another asked. “No,” Jamie Lynn then responded.
Spears also took to her Instagram Story to share a series of pictures with the Zoey 101 cast.
"Seriously tho, so thankful for this show, and everyone who loved and supported it," Spears wrote alongside one cast photo. "I grew up on this show, so it was pretty much my childhood also. Love y'all."
"Honestly, since soooo many people keep asking us I'm just curious, how many of you would watch a reunion/reboot of Zoey?" Spears asked, posting a poll.
In response, 96 percent of people have voted yes, please!
The clarifications weren’t really necessary, however, because for years, Jamie Lynn has maintained that it was her decision to leave the show. When she found out she was pregnant in 2007, she had already gone home to Louisiana with the intent of graduating and planning her next move. The show had reportedly already wrapped, although there will still episodes that had yet to air. “After we wrapped shooting, I just wanted to go home to Louisiana and finish high school, be a cheerleader, all that,” she told Glamour in 2012. “Then I found out I was pregnant.”
Lots of publications got the story wrong at the time, while gossip sites speculated rudely and offensively about the reasons for her pregnancy and her child's paternity. Friendly reminder: at any age, pregnancy is not scandalous or shameful — it's also not anyone else's business.
Media outlets, meanwhile, are still misreporting this story, some as recently as this year.
While it's sad to hear that Zoey 101 was already on the chopping block before her pregnancy, Jamie Lynn's candid Instagram posts hopefully will clear things up for the future — and hey, fans wouldn't be mad at a future Zoey 101 reboot.
Now, someone pass me a cup of sassafras tea.
Speaking of reboots,tThere have been some rumblings of Zoey 101 possibly returning to television in some form in the future, especially after the cast reunited to film the "Did Did Zoey Say?" 10-year reunion video back in 2015. The 5-minute clip showed Chase learning that Zoey considered him to possibly be her soulmate while they were at PCA together, and ends on a cliffhanger of Chase running to Zoey.
"I can't make those kind of decisions. I actually haven't spoken to [Dan Schneider]... I haven't spoken to really anyone yet," she said. "We would need to have an actual reunion before that would happen. I do get comments all the time about Chase looking for me."
Though Jamie admitted she doesn't have much say in the fate of the show, she at least revealed her idea of a happy ending for Zoey and Chase. "I would assume that Zoey would be doing some type of perfect job, and maybe he would be like the dad at home with the kids," she said. "I would think that would be kind of because he seems like he still would be a kid."
At least Jamie's up for the idea and since she was the star, that's a pretty solid base. Hopefully Nickelodeon and the rest of the cast picks up on her excitement and get on board.
Jamie Lynn Spears seems less focused on her acting career these days, though, so a full reboot is likely out of the question. Spears currently lives in Louisiana, where she raises her two daughters Maddie Briann Aldridge and Ivey Joan Watson with her husband Jamie Watson.
Zoey 101 centered on Zoey Brooks (Spears) as she enrolls in Pacific Coast Academy, a school that previously only allowed boys to attend. The series co-starred Paul Butcher (Dustin Brooks), Sean Flynn (Chase Matthews), Kristin Herrera (Dana Cruz), Christopher Massey (Michael Barret), Alexa Nikolas (Nicole Bristow), Erin Sanders (Quinn Pensky), Matthew Underwood (Logan Reese), Victoria Justice (Lola Martinez), and Austin Butler (James Garrett).
Originally published: Thursday, January 10, 2019.