June 25, 2009

‘SpongeBob SquarePants’ is turning 10

Nickelodeon says it plans to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its iconic show SpongeBob SquarePants with a documentary and cartoon marathon.

The animated series debuted on the network July 17, 1999. To commemorate the popular show's 10th anniversary, Nickelodeon said it is planning the Ultimate SpongeBob SpongeBash Weekend, set to air July 17-19.

The 50-hour programming event will be presided over by Nickelodeon character Patchy the Pirate and will include 11 SpongeBob premieres and a Top-10 countdown of celebrities' favorite SpongeBob episodes, the network said.

Nickelodeon's sister channel VH1 will premiere Square Roots: The Story of SpongeBob SquarePants, the first original SpongeBob SquarePants TV documentary, slated to run July 14.

Over the last 10 years, the porous brainchild of creator Steve Hillenburg has grown from a single Saturday morning kids' show to a certified pop-culture maverick, Nickelodeon said in a news release Wednesday. Since its launch in July 1999, 'SpongeBob SquarePants' has emerged as a pop-culture phenomenon with 70 million viewers monthly, and has been the No. 1 animated program with kids (ages) 2-11 for more than seven consecutive years. The show is seen in 171 markets in 25 languages and is the most widely distributed property in MTV Networks' history.