July 17, 2009

‘SpongeBob’ creator surprised by success

SpongeBob SquarePants creator Steve Hillenburg admits he never expected his animated sea-dwelling characters to become pop-culture phenomena.

Nickelodeon is celebrating the series' 10th anniversary with a marathon of special programming this weekend.

It's a show about a sponge -- I thought we'd get one season, Hillenburg, a former marine biologist, told USA Today. We've been lucky. ... We were just trying to make something we'd want to watch and laugh at.

You kind of knew it was special, recalled Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami. It broke the creative mold.

Asked how much longer the network will air the show, Zarghami told the newspaper: The quality is as it always was. ... We've got another 10 good years ahead.

I couldn't dream up a gig this fun, Tom Kenny, who gives SpongeBob his distinctive voice, told the newspaper. I feel like I've won the lottery.