SpongeBob SquarePants (Often referred to simply as SpongeBob) is an American animated television series, created by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg. Much of the series centers on the exploits and adventures of the title character and his various friends in the underwater city "Bikini Bottom." The series' popularity has prompted the release of a media franchise, contributing to its position as Nickelodeon's highest rated show, the most distributed property of MTV Networks, and among Nicktoons' most-watched shows.
The pilot episode of SpongeBob SquarePants first aired in the United States on Nickelodeon on May 1, 1999, following the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards. The "official" series premiere followed on July 17, 1999, with the second episode, "Bubblestand/Ripped Pants." The show reached popularity shortly after the beginning of its second season and has remained popular since. A feature film of the series was released in theaters on November 19, 2004. The series is currently in its seventh season and celebrated its tenth anniversary on July 17, 2009. SpongeBob has recently been renewed for a ninth season.