SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series. Created by former marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg, it is broadcasted on Nickelodeon, an American cable network. Since its debut on May 1, 1999, the series has aired over 200 episodes and is currently in its twelfth season, which premiered on November 11, 2018. The series follows the adventures of the title character and his various friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom.
A feature film, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie complements the series, and received its premiere in theaters in the United States on November 19, 2004. In season five, the series' first television film, "Atlantis SquarePantis," was broadcast for the first time on November 12, 2007 after a television marathon. In season six, the series' second television film, "Truth or Square," was broadcast for the first time on November 6, 2009. A second feature film, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water also complements the series, and received its premiere in theaters in the United States on February 6, 2015. In season twelve, the series' third television film, "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout," was broadcast for the first time on July 12, 2019. The first eight seasons are available on DVD for Regions 1, 2 and 4 as of October 2017. Season 9, season 10, season 11, and season 12 are available on DVD for Region 1 as of January 12, 2021.
Hillenburg initially began to work on creating the show shortly after the cancellation of Rocko's Modern Life in 1996. To voice the character of SpongeBob, Hillenburg approached Tom Kenny, who had worked with him on Rocko's Modern Life as a voice actor. SpongeBob was originally to be named SpongeBoy, but the name was already in use for a mop product. Upon finding it out, Hillenburg decided to use the name "SpongeBob." He chose "SquarePants" as a family name, as it referred to the character's square shape and it had a "nice ring to it."