After debuting back in 1999, the cartoon about a naive, possibly gay sea creature remains the network’s highest rated animated series. And Deadline reports that its just been given the green light on a ninth season.
This next batch of 26 episodes, set to debut sometime in 2012, will push the series over the 200-episode mark. It’s quite a feat on its own, but when you look at how long other iconic “Nicktoons” lasted, its even more impressive.
Here’s how “SpongeBob” stacks up:
1. “SpongeBob, SquarePants” (1999 – present)
When it completes Season 9, the “SpongeBob” episode count will stand at 204 — and that doesn’t even include the movies or specials.
2. “Rugrats” (1991-2004)
Nickelodeon’s longest-running cartoon (at least in age) stretched out
well over a decade, accumulating 173 episodes in its time. “SpongeBob”
only just surpassed that number in Season 8.
3. “The Fairly OddParents” (1998 – present)
The oldest Nick cartoon still in production — before it began as a series in 2001, it ran as shorts for three years — “The Fairly OddParents” hit 120 episodes in 2010.
And here’s where we feel very old: three of the network’s originals (“Doug,” “The Adventures of Ren & Stimpy” and “Rocco’s Modern Life”) barely make a dent, numbers-wise. They all capped out in the low 50s*. That’s fewer episodes than “As Told By Ginger,” which doesn’t even sound like a real show.
*We like to pretend that “Disney’s Doug” never happened, but ABC’s Saturday morning cartoon block’s dumbed down continuation of the show did endure for an additional 65 episodes.