Nick Celebrates 10 Years of SpongeBob

Nickelodeon is set to kick off a year-long celebration in honor of the 10th anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants. The festivities will include production of a SpongeBob documentary, the first-ever live cast performance, a new online destination, new episode premieres and a Seinfeld-esque TV movie due to air in November.

Created by Steve Hillenburg, SpongeBob is a pop-culture phenomenon that launched in July of 1999 and now draws roughly 70 million viewers around the world each month. Seen in 171 markets and translated into 25 languages, the show has been the No. 1 animated program with kids 2-11 for more than seven consecutive years and is the most widely distributed property in MTV Networks’ history.

The live cast performance will take place on Jan. 18. in Park City, Utah during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. Accompanied by a visual presentation and celebrity guest appearances, the show’s voice actors will perform a live reading of the upcoming special episode ‘SpongeBob vs. The Big One’ for invited guests at the Village at the Yard venue.

Nickelodeon has commissioned the first full-length original SpongeBob TV documentary, which will chronicle the beloved character’s evolution to international icon status. The film will be telecast across MTV Networks’ various TV platforms to commemorate the anniversary of the series’ first episode.

Nickelodeon has launched a new vertical fan site at www.spongebob.com, where both adults and kids will find absorbing activities including an age-appropriate community, chat features, the ability to search for favorite SpongeBob moments and comment on the funniest videos, and a new mini-game every week. More than 300 searchable SpongeBob video clips from every episode of the series are available, and fans can also find a selection of full-length episodes from each season. Brand-new episodes will be posted immediately following their on-air premieres. Other features include a backstage area featuring a creator’s blog and interviews, as well as a selection of more than 100 SpongeBob-themed games.

The celebration will continue with new episodes debuting throughout the year. A week of new premieres will air in March, offering such installments as ‘Grandpappy the Pirate,’ featuring guest star Dennis Quaid as Mr. Krabs’ grandfather. In April, the half-hour TV special SpongeBob vs. The Big One will follow SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward and Mr. Krabs as they find themselves stranded on a remote island where they meet an enigmatic surf guru named Jack Kahuna Laguna (voiced by Johnny Depp), who tells them that the only way back to Bikini Bottom is to surf the legendary wave known as The Big One. November will then bring the debut of an hour-long TV movie event which finds SpongeBob, Patrick, Squidward and Mr. Krabs locked inside a giant freezer on the night of the Krusty Krab’s anniversary celebration. While trapped, the characters look back on shared memories with shocking reveals, much like the final Seinfeld episode.

SpongeBob will also be featured as part of Nick’s ongoing pro-social campaign, ‘The Big Green Help.’ The campaign will devote much of 2009 to raising awareness about the oceans and water conservation through SpongeBob and You Save the Big Blue, in partnership with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). Save the Big Blue public service announcements will air on Nickelodeon throughout the year, and educational activities and programs will take place at various aquariums and zoos across the country this summer.