Boy Meets World Writer Opens Up About 'Traumatic' And 'Divided' BTS Conflict Early On In The Show

Boy Meets World may have ended more than 20 years ago after the series finale in May of 2000, but the stars have been revisiting it from the beginning for the benefit of fans. Unfortunately, not all of the blasts to the past have uncovered happy memories, and now one writer has opened up about her experience behind the scenes that she describes as both “divided” and “traumatic.” Writer Janette Kotichas shared her perspective on the tension between the co-creators that led to major BTS changes between Seasons 1 and 2. 

The beloved sitcom set largely in school was created by Michael Jacobs and April Kelly, but Kelly was only on board Boy Meets World for the first season. Janette Kotichas visited the Pod Meets World podcast hosted by former stars Danielle Fishel, Rider Strong, and Will Friedle (all of whom weighed in on being called “child actors”) to make some claims about what really happened behind the scenes that led to both her and Kelly’s early oustings, among others. According to Kotichas, the writers room was divided between “the Michael camp and the April camp,” and Kotichas was firmly on the side of Kelly. 

Referring to “the Michael camp” as “mean girls,” Kotichas went on in the podcast to share her take on what happened all those years ago, saying: 

It was definitely divisive, but I didn’t realize it going into it. I didn’t know it was going to be that divided. There was a lot of snarkiness on the other side, and that’s okay. I mean, obviously I didn’t know that they had gotten this story that April was this monster. April is an amazing human being and so generous. I mean, I want to counteract that because the head mean girl had a huge overall deal at Disney.

Janette Kotichas didn’t fully know what she was getting into with joining the team at Boy Meets World with tension between the two creators and their supporters. The writer only had good things to say about April Kelly, sharing a memory as an example of why she supported her: 

Our PAs would come in around 4 or 5 and get ready for the evening because it was back in the day when they were delivering a lot of scripts, and they had to copy all the scripts or at the very least they had to go pick them up from the copier. So they were up rather late into the night, and the mean girl wouldn’t buy them dinner. April just pulls out her card and says ‘Give this to the kids and let them order dinner.’ So she had a generous heart and she really saw something in us.

Kotichas was not a staff writer at the time, but had the opportunity to pitch ideas, and went on to pen two episodes for Season 1. The actors praised those episodes as some of the best of the first season, particularly “Boy II Mensa,” which was the sixth of the entire series. She also wrote “Boy Meets Girl,” which aired as the penultimate episode of Season 1. 

That said, her experience with writing her episodes wasn’t entirely smooth, and she credits Michael Jacobs for an upsetting incident when one of her scripts was in the works. Referring to the co-creators, Kotichas said:

They were gonna give me notes on my script, and Michael just goes, ‘I don’t even know what to say.’ And he throws my script across the room and goes, ‘This is a piece of blank.’ And I’m just sitting there, like, ‘What?’ And April says, ‘Okay, Michael. It’s cool. Let’s just sit down and go through the script and give Janette notes. Let’s fix it.’... He’s just like, ‘I don’t even know what to say to this.’

The incident clearly stuck with the writer, as she was able to recount it nearly three decades after her first episode aired back in 1993. Nevertheless, she expected to stay on at Boy Meets World beyond Season 1 with the potential to become a staff writer, as April Kelly suggested, although she wasn’t ready to celebrate when there was no contract. According to Kotichas, Kelly went on vacation to France after promising that she’d given Michael Jacobs a list of writers who needed to remain on board for Season 2 and that he’d agreed to it. 

The writer said that while the co-creator was on vacation and Kotichas herself was cleaning up after Season 1, this happened: 

Cut to: we got let go, and we’re not on the show. I sent April a telegram in France to her hotel, saying ‘We’ve been cut.’ And I’m sure her agent did too. We just got cut… We weren’t brought back… It was traumatic for me. I loved the show, and I liked what we were doing with it. We were taking it slow.

Rider Strong responded that he hadn’t heard the version of events in which April Kelly was cut, believing that she’d left herself because she was “fed up with the show and left because of the politics.” The actors noted that there was a different tone in Season 2 after Season 1, and Danielle Fishel went on to say that they didn’t have Kelly’s version of events to confirm all the details of what Kotichas said.

That said, Fishel herself shared a story back in 2022 about harsh criticism that she received from Michael Jacobs on her first week at Boy Meets World at the age of 12, including the threat of being fired. While it remains to be seen if more sides to the story will be revealed as the stars continue to revisit their time on the show, it’s clear that there was a lot more happening behind the scenes than fans could have known when it was originally airing. 

Actor Anthony Tyler Quinn has shared the story of how Michael Jacobs initially said that he would be back to continue playing Mr. Turner in Season 4, only to be cut two months later due to the network and studio. Actress Trina McGee, who played Angela Moore, has spoken about “disrespectful” incidents on the set of Boy Meets World, and Maitland Ward opened up about being “sexualized” as Rachel, suggesting that Michael Jacobs and the writers enjoyed playing with that. 

If you want to revisit the run of Boy Meets World, you can find the series streaming with a Disney+ subscription. If you’re in the market for some newer content instead, you can find plenty of options on our 2023 TV premiere schedule.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).