SpongeBob Tops in China

Having debuted on China’s CCTV just four weeks ago, SpongeBob SquarePants has already become the No. 1 cartoon show in the nation, according to Nickelodeon. The network says Neilson Media Research data shows that while 35% of the show’s audience is between the ages of four and nine, a whopping 25% of viewers are in the 24-34 demographic.

The news comes just a week after an announcement that the Chinese government is trying to curb the amount of foreign animation on Chinese television by banning live-action/animated hybrid shows and movies. SpongeBob also made news yesterday when The Parents Television Council released a report on objectionable content in kids’ shows and wagged a finger at the series for an episode where SpongeBob continually utters bleeped curse words that he doesn’t understand.

SpongeBob SquarePants launched on Nickelodeon in the U.S. in 1999 and has become an international phenomenon and the most successful property in Nickelodeon’s 26 year history. According to the network, nearly 53.7 million U.S. viewers tune in to catch the wacky antics of the absorbent one and his silly Bikini Bottom neighbors each month.