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No copyright infringement intended. I do not own SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS. Nickelodeon, Viacom and Stephen Hillenburg do. I do not own the video neither. This blog was made by and for fans.

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Soaking Up Attention

Monday, Dec. 17, 2001

In America, if you want to be successful, you go to college, study hard and pack your head full of arcane knowledge. Then you head for Hollywood and learn to tell plankton jokes. That, anyway, was the route to fame and fortune for Stephen Hillenburg, an avid surfer, scuba diver and marine-biology teacher fascinated with tide-pool life. After he later went to art school and became an animator, he decided to base his debut cartoon, loosely, on the creatures that he had made his life's study. Very loosely. His star: a talking sponge who wears a tie, flips Krabbie Patties at a submarine fast-food joint and resembles a slice of Swiss cheese more than his real-water counterparts.

Spongebob squarepants new season sandy squirrel pictures imageHail SpongeBob SquarePants: delightfully biologically incorrect and the new invertebrate king of children's television. Launched in 1999, his sweet, surrealistic, self-titled Nickelodeon cartoon recently unseated the long-reigning Rugrats as the most popular kids' show on TV, attracting an average of 10 million kids ages 2 to 11 (and more than 5 million adults) each week.

Bad News At Bikini Bottom

April 16, 2002 -- IT looks like the most-watched kids' show on TV, "SpongeBob Squarepants," is on the verge of drying up.

Steve Hillenburg, the show's creator, executive producer and head writer, says he's quitting when his deal with Nickelodeon is up later this year. But since Hillenburg sold all of his "SpongeBob" rights to Nickelodeon years ago - in exchange for seeing his concept make it onto TV - the show could theoretically go on with out him.

A Nickelodeon spokesman confirmed that the future of the show - which is seen each week by about 3 million kids - is up in the air.

Spongebob squarepants new season sandy squirrel pictures image bikini bottom
Bikini Bottom
"I definitely need a break," Hillenburg told the Los Angeles Times. "I want to try something new."

Nickelodeon could continue to produce new episodes without Hillenburg, as it did years ago another one of the channel's animated show's "Ren & Stimpy," a move Nickelodeon staffers acknowledge probably contributed to the show's demise.

Hillenburg thinks that once he leaves, it's not likely that the network would continue the show without him.

"I think they respect that my contribution is important," Hillenburg said. "I think they would want to maintain the original concept and quality."

How to Succeed Without Attitude

A pop-culture quiz: "Do you smell it? That smell? That kind of smelly smell? The smelly smell that smells . . . smelly?" A good number of children in the 2-to-11 range, as the Nielsen ratings group them, will know the smell. So will many of their parents, a fair number of college students, and assorted hipsters of indeterminate age who surfed or stumbled into the undersea universe of a yellow kitchen sponge and got hooked.

Spongebob squarepants new season sandy squirrel pictures image bikini bottomFor those who don't know, the sponge is SpongeBob SquarePants, the title character of the most popular cartoon on cable television. The "smell" was that of invading anchovy hordes — as detected by SpongeBob's boss, Mr. Krabs. He owns a restaurant where SpongeBob is a fry cook. Really.

For those, on the other hand, whose lives require fluency in Rugrats and Catdog, the fact that SpongeBob reels in 2 million children every night is a no-brainer. The show, which debuted on Nickelodeon three years ago and has since gobbled up the children's cable television market, is a loopy half-hour ride that youngsters clearly enjoy. It also has been aggressively marketed. Young fans can strap on SpongeBob backpacks each morning and tuck into SpongeBob sheets every night.

But it's that other part of the audience — the nearly 5 million adults who also tune in every week (and who purchase millions of dollars worth of the merchandise for themselves) — that is elevating SpongeBob from child's confection to cult classic.