A nationwide casting effort began in 2007. More than 1,500 teens and young adults auditioned for the four roles. James Maslow and Logan Henderson were the easiest and first actors cast. Kendall Schmidt was the last actor cast, and the most difficult role to cast. The role of Kendall Knight was originally to go to Curt Hansen, who now plays Dak Zevon on the show, but when he appeared a lot older than the others and sounded too much like James in the pick up pilot, the producers auditioned and cast Schmidt after a recommendation by Logan Henderson, who was also friends with the actor before casting. Filming of the series began in August 2009. Actor Carlos Pena Jr. previously worked with Scott Fellows on Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. As he had just entered the Boston Conservatory to study musical theatre, Pena was reluctant to audition but sent in a tape at the encouragement of his manager. Executive Producer Scott Fellows was inspired to write each character by the personality of the actor playing him.
A one-hour special preview (which serves as the series pilot and first episode) debuted on Nickelodeon on November 28, 2009, drawing an audience of 3.6 million viewers. The series' official premiere on January 18, 2010 (which followed the premiere of the iCarly special "iSaved Your Life"), was watched by a total of 6.8 million total viewers, Nickelodeon's highest-rated live-action series debut.
It was shown as a preview in Australia and New Zealand on April 10, 2010, and premiered on May 15, 2010. It previewed on April 16, 2010 and premiered on May 31, 2010 in Southeast Asia. In the United Kingdom and Ireland it previewed on May 27, 2010 and premiered on June 21, 2010. In Canada it previewed on August 6, 2010 and premiered on September 6, 2010.
The series was conceived and created by Scott Fellows, formerly the creator, executive Producer and showrunner of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide. Fellows says his inspiration for the show was the musical comedy show, The Monkees—a popular and culturally significant American television series from the 1960s about a group of four young male adults who form a rock band, and perform songs while having comedic adventures. Although the show had a concept as early as 2007, the series had no actual title as late as August 2009.