'SpongeBob’ To Swim for 20 More Shows

Kids and adults who can’t get enough of SpongeBob SquarePants will get a chance to see 20 new episodes next year.

New installments of the Emmy-nominated series — the No. 1 show among kids for the past three years — are expected to premiere sometime in the first quarter. With the new shows, executive-produced by SpongeBob creator Stephen Hillenburg, there will be total of 80 SpongeBob episodes, each broken down into a pair of two 11-minute segments.

Launched in July 1999, the show, which airs on Nick seven days a week, has been the top-rated kids’ show on television for 11 consecutive quarters, according to Nick.

On a cumulative basis, nearly 60 million viewers tune into the show each month, including 23.4 million kids 2 to 11, 13.4 million tweens 9 to 14, and 27.1 million adults 18-plus, according to Nielsen data. Currently, more adults are watching SpongeBob than at any other point in the show’s history, said Nick officials.

Said Nickelodeon Television president Cyma Zarghami in a prepared statement: “SpongeBob is the most successful property in our 25-year history, and we’re thrilled to bring his fans more adventures from Bikini Bottom. And maybe he’ll finally get his driver’s license.”

A theatrical from Nickelodeon Movies and Paramount Pictures, The SpongeBob SquarePantsMovie, will be released on Nov. 19.