Revenge of the Sponge!

Having made a big splash in theaters, SpongeBob SquarePants is returning to the small screen tonight, May 6, with the start of long-awaited, all-new episodes. Nickelodeon will air 20 brand-spanking new installments of the Emmy-nominated animated series on Fridays at 8:30 p.m./7:30 p.m. central.

The fourth season kicks off with the episode ‘Fear of a Krabby Patty,’ in which The Krusty Krab opens its doors for 24-hour service, turning SpongeBob’s dream fry cook job into a nightmare. Meanwhile, Plankton capitalizes on the staff’s fatigue and takes a stab at stealing the secret Krabby Patty recipe. The second half of the show, “Shell of a Man,” has Mr. Krabs bare and embarrassed when he molts in his shell.

Series creator Stephen Hillenburg serves as exec producer on the new episodes, which reunites voice cast members Tom Kenny (SpongeBob), Bill Fagerbakke (Patrick), Rodger Bumpass (Squidward), Clancy Brown (Mr. Krabs) and Carolyn Lawrence (Sandy Cheeks).

Helming day-to-day production of the new episodes is Paul Tibbitt, one of the co-writers and storyboard artists on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. Tibbitt served as a director and writer on SpongeBob SquarePants for the past three seasons, and wrote some of the show’s most memorable episodes including “Ripped Pants” and “Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy.”

SpongeBob SquarePants launched in July 1999 and became the most successful property in Nickelodeon’s 25-year history. The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie hit the big screen on November 19, taking in $136 million worldwide.

The TV series is a Nicktoons Production, with Hillenburg’s United Plankton Pictures, and is produced at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank, Calif.