NickelodeonlovesSponge Bob Square Pants. The show runs at least eight times on an average weekday — it's the first thing they show in the morning and the last thing they show at night, before turning into Nick At Nite, and it's the only show that they run at all different hours of the day to get pre-schoolers, after-school kids, and evening teenager audiences. "Special" SpongeBob episodes are hyped up and promoted more often than the regular Nicktoons on the network. Some days, it gets more airtime than all the other Nicktoons still on Nickelodeon combined. During 2009-2011, repeats get higher ratings than the average that most kids' shows nowadays have. Don't believe me? Go on TV By The Numbers, look at the top cable ratings for the weeks and check out how many episodes will be there. However, ratings for the show have lately dropped, probably due to daily overexposure.
Mostly, it airs first thing in the morning, but sometimes, another show airs. For instance, a Team Umizoomi special aired on Martin Luther King Day 2012, and the Rugrats special "Babies in Toyland" was the first thing aired on December 25, 2011 (aka Christmas).
It is no longer aired anymore as the first thing in the morning, Winx Club now airs first.
Same thing with it being the last thing aired every day: sometimes, the last show aired is either iCarly, How To Rock, or Fred The Show, which usually occurs on Fridays and weekends.
Before SpongeBob, it was Rugrats. After the show was brought back from hiatus, and saved from cancellation at the last minute, due to the ratings for the reruns being high and the show was put back into production, it dominated most of the lineup and was running every day, at least four times a day. It was much like SpongeBob in regards to grabbing all sorts of audiences during the day. Plus, this also led to Nickelodeon using Klasky-Csupo (the studio behind Rugrats) to produce at least six new shows for the network(Several different people created the shows. Not Arlene and Gabor, who only created at least 3), including the RugratsSpin-OffAll Grown Up! which was born from another over-hyped special that got Nickelodeon's highest ratings ever at almost twelve million viewers(Arlene and Gabor prefer to retcon this as they see it as a mistake). Meanwhile, all the other Nicktoons were basically ignored or cancelled outright. Though Rugrats was nowhere near as Adored by the Network back then, as SpongeBob is now.
Before either of them, this trope was averted for the very first Nicktoon to hit it big, The Ren & Stimpy Show. Because it came before this trope became prominent, it was only seen on Nickelodeon twice a week (on SNICK and on Sunday mornings). However, it was also run simultaneously on MTV.
On 7/18/10, an unannounced twelve hour marathon of SpongeBob plagued the channel, before an airing of Adventures In Babysitting.
On 7/29/10, of the 11 hours Nickelodeon has minus Nick At Nite and Nick Jr., nine hours were filled with SpongeBob and iCarly alone without any of their current Nicktoons showing and only two other shows aired.
Same deal on 11/26/10, they played two episodes of The Penguins of Madagascar, then a six-hour SpongeBob marathon, followed by an iCarly marathon at 3, ending with iStart a Fan War at 7, and they wrapped it up with the premiere of the Victorious special, "Freak the Freak Out".
Apparently, Nick repeated this on July 21, 2012, when they aired a Spongebob marathon to promote the "Super-Spongey Square Games", an hourlong block of new episodes devoted to sports. They also aired the 1-hour special "Truth or Square" and the movie.
There was also the three-day long marathon of nothing but SpongeBob in 2009 to promote the 10-year anniversary and the T or S special. Later during that week, Even Nick At Nite aired a special about the production of the show.
Later, with a schedule change on April 2011, SpongeBob got over 60 airings that week. It was even worse previously, where entire Saturdays and Sundays were filled entirely with the yellow sponge. iCarly took a close second, with Victorious and T.U.F.F. Puppy tied in third.
On Australia's Nickelodeon, until recently at least (mid-2010), they had SpongeBob running from 12AM-6AM every night, for at least a year.
On Latin America's channel, almost all weekends are 48 hour marathons of either SpongeBob or iCarly.
There's more: The UK Nickelodeon had a whopping 502 hour marathon of Spongebob in Summer 2011, for the Clash of the Bottom competition, where kids had to vote for their favorite main character. To top that off, it was the second-longest TV show marathon of all time, only being beaten by Boomerang UK's Scooby Summer.
Here is a sample of an average day of Nickelodeon, which relates to the show we are talking about. On Christmas Day 2011, they played the Rugrats special "Babies in Toyland", then an episode of The Fairly Odd Parents, followed by a 3-hour Spongebob marathon, then a one-hour marathon of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, then an episode of Penguins of Madagascar, then after a few hours, they played a two hour Spongebob marathon a few hours later, making that 5 HOURS of Spongebob. In one day!
As of May 18, 2012, Nickelodeon can now be called "The Spongebob and Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness Network. Why is this? Because Kung Fu Panda plays for 2 1/2 hours on weekdays, making it the second-most run show on Nick.
Whenever a new episode is going to be aired (and a 15-minute one at that), Nickelodeon will hype it up with a big marathon and tons of promos. That there just shows how much that Nickelodeon absolutely loves SpongeBob.
Also, those marathon-special thingies must have meant that Nick had finally realized that Avatar The Last Airbender is such a ratings-topper. Its sister channel, Nicktoons Network, is also filled with Avatar now that the series has ended. However, the sequel series, The Legend Of Korra is being Screwed by the Network: Despite amazing ratings, it's only aired once a week. Miss an episode? Too bad, hope you have Tivo!
Though they seem to be annoyed by marathons of the "original animated infomercials" NFL Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core" and Zevo-3''.
They hardly even show Invader Zim like they did when it first premiered. They pretty much replaced it with massive, full 3 hour blocks of Zevo-3. The new, stupid 5 minute show "NFL Rush Zone: Guardians of the Core" has been invading schedules of Invader Zim, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and even their revered love child Zevo-3.
Let's not even start with Fanboy and Chum Chum. Massive blocks on both Nickelodeon and Nicktoons, It seemed for a while that you couldn't go a single day of the week without seeing at least three episodes of it.
Often the same three episodes. Again and again and again. Seriously, for a while you could only see three to five episodes, total, of Penguins Of Madagascar and Fanboy and Chum Chum, even with the knowledge that other episodes probably existed. They would play them in hour blocks, yet you never seemed to catch a new episode.
Currently T.U.F.F Puppy is getting the adoration. Same situation as Fanboy and Chum Chum, It's a new show that is being shoved down our throats, when SpongeBob has the day off.
Though it's been slowing down lately due to the lack of new episodes, Nick Toons did like airing Making Fiends multiple times a day a majority of the week. ChalkZone appears often early in the day.
Dragon Ball Z Kai is shown multiple times every day with flimsy excuses for marathons. It's 11/11/11? They promise to show 11 hours of the show. It runs at least 4 episodes a day.
The block-series, Nick Studio 10, was crammed into the program during any possible rerun. It got so bad that Nick actually interrupted whatever show is playing to air a random clip of something and/or a Studio 10 skit instead of waiting for the next commercial break! The shilling has given it a significant hate-base. The interruptions calmed down, though.
Nickelodeon is advertising the CRAP out of Sanjay and Craig. In fact, two or even three commercials for the show will air in a single commercial break. Commercials are even airing on different networks.
Nick even loves to interrupt shows with Sanjay and Craig ads as well, playing a commercial right after a show's theme song. However, it's (THANKFULLY) fitted so no content is missed, unlike Studio 10.
The interruption thing was also done to promote the iCarly/Victorious crossover spin-off Sam And Cat. And that show is also getting tons of love from Nick.