By Casey Lewis
"iCarly"'s Jennette McCurdy and "Victorious"'s Ariana Grande spent several years playing the role of the faithful best friend on their respective hit Nickelodeon shows. But when both of the popular teen sitcoms ended, with stars Miranda Cosgrove and Victoria Justice going on to pursue other projects, Jennette and Ariana weren't ready to leave their characters behind.
Beginning next month, both actresses will return to Nick -- and their beloved small-screen alter-egos -- on "Sam & Cat," a crossover spin-off series that incorporates plot lines and personalities from both "iCarly" and "Victorious." We chatted with the girls ahead of the show's June premiere to find out what to expect from their exciting new adventure.
Tell us about the show! Jennette McCurdy: "Sam & Cat" is about two girls with very opposite personalities who come together because they have a mutual need for a space to live and a way to make money, so they start a business and live together. Ariana Grande: I don't think they've ever taken two characters from two different shows!
Did you watch each other's shows? AG: Yeah, on occasion. My mom was obsessed with "iCarly," so every day I would come home and she would be watching "iCarly"! I would watch it with her.
Are you similar to your characters? AG: I'm not too much like Cat, but I'm definitely more like Cat than Sam. The cool thing about both of us is that, in real life, we're both in the middle of "Sam & Cat." We play the extremes, but we're right smack in the middle.
Were you guys friends before you started filming? JM: We met three years ago at the pilot of a Nickelodeon promo shoot. I remember finding out we had the same birthday, but a year apart, and that we were both allergic to shellfish. And then we started singing "Jingle Bells." We hit it off right away! AG: You remember everything!
You play roommates. Do you have any crazy roommate stories? JM: I've never had a roommate, even when I was growing up. I feel like having a roommate would be very difficult, but I'm going to have a roommate soon! I have a friend who's moving into my house and he's going to be renting a bedroom... AG: I lived with Liz [Gillies, who played Jade West on "Victorious"] for a while. She lived in my mom's house with me. It was so much fun!
Your shows have huge fan bases. How do you think that will translate to the new show? JM: Both "iCarly" and "Victorious" fans are so hardcore and intense. AG: What scares me are the ones who are bashing "Sam & Cat." There are, like, three people who are so mean on Twitter and say, "'Sam & Cat' is going to be awful!" JM: I just laugh at them or retweet them. AG: Every time Dan [Schneider, TV producer] does a new show, he takes characters from another show. In the beginning people were like, "No way! 'iCarly' ruined 'Drake and Josh!' 'The Amanda Show' ruined 'All That!' 'Keenan and Kel' ruined 'All That!' 'Victorious' ruined 'Zoey 101'!" They always say that at the beginning, and then they're like, "This is the best show ever!" and cry when it's over. JM: I feel like those are just loudmouths. For me, "Sam & Cat" is cool because it's got this buddy-comedy aspect that "iCarly" or "Victorious" didn't have. So I'm hoping people who liked "iCarly" will like "Sam & Cat." Then it will be a new crop of people who will like it as well, because it fits a different angle than the others.
Can we expect guest appearances from characters on your other shows? AG: We had Eric Lange who plays Mr. Sikowitz from "Victorious," but so far that's it. JM: I would love for Miranda to come on board with it. It would be super funny.
Both of you are talented singers. Will you be singing on the show? JM: No. That was actually something we spoke with our producer and the creator of the show, Dan, about prior to starting. He said, "Do you guys want to sing?" and we both said no. Ariana obviously has a huge singing career and is working on that on her own, but for me, singing is something I just kind of want to leave behind. I want to focus on comedy and acting.
Your music career is kind of your focus, would you say? AG: I want to keep the two very separate and give to them both equally. I just want to be able to do both because I love them both and don't want to shut either out.
Can you say a little bit about what we can expect from your upcoming album? AG: It'll be out in September. I just got the news yesterday! It's like throwback R&B and soulful pop. JM: I've heard a couple of songs. They're fantastic.
You both always look adorable. Is style a big thing for you? JM: I had three older brothers growing up, so my style sense was slim to none. I started in the entertainment business when I was eight and then got on "iCarly" when I was 14. It's been a huge learning curve from 14 on -- finding my own sense of style and finding what I respond to and what I'm also comfortable with, but feel like I look good in. It's definitely a process and an ongoing one at that. I've definitely grown to love style and things that appeal to me. A cute outfit can really make your day. If I wear something I look good in, my mood just goes way up. AG: I just love to shop. If I could, I would shop every single day in every single store and spend all of my money which, you know, I do anyway.
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