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SpongeBob SquarePants was pretty much the poster-child for the trope (at least until Teen Titans Go! stole the sponge's thunder in 2015). Since the show was uncanceled in 2005, it would run at least eight times on an average weekday. It would often be the first thing they show in the morning and the last thing they show at night (before turning into Nick @ 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 would be hyped up and promoted more often than the regular Nicktoons on the network. Some days, it'd get more airtime than all the other Nicktoons still on Nickelodeon combined. At least during 2009-2011, even repeats got higher ratings than the average that most kids' shows, as well as several primetime shows, got back then. Eventually, ratings for the show dropped - probably due to overexposure and what many fans would consider Seasonal Rot. Despite all this, it still remains a favorite for Nick to this day.


  • Still Nickelodeon's top show after 20 years note , and they've obviously decided to milk it for all its worth. Today, Nickelodeon's typical schedule (not counting the Nick Jr. or Nick @ Nite blocks) is comprised almost entirely of either SpongeBob or The Loud House. It's gotten so bad, the animation fandom (particularly Pan of RebelTaxi) has even coined the term "The SpongeBob Principle": If a new Nick cartoon comes out and it isn't an instant smash hit, Nickelodeon will just ignore it, never give it reruns, never promote it, move the premiere dates around and dump the last few episodes on their much less popular channel Nicktoons Network while they replace it with more SpongeBob reruns.
  • Before the show got the overexposure treatment, Nickelodeon kept tying the show into their advertising, doing everything from making blocks themed around the show (like the Summer Nicktoon Splash), having SpongeBob and Patrick do the "Favorite Cartoon" segment of the 2000 KCAs and having Patchy the Pirate appear on several episodes of U-Pick Live. It got to the point where SpongeBob characters even appeared in an ad that was played on the Nick Jr. block in 2002.
    • Speaking of KCAs, it has won for the category Best Cartoon every year it been nominated since 2003 (only Avatar the Last Airbender can beat it and that was back in 2008), much to the chagrin of many cartoon fans. The outrage grows every year (although what happened in 2008 was rather unexpected), as people believes other cartoons deserve to win a blimp for this category.
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  • There was a three-day long marathon of nothing but SpongeBob in 2009 to promote the 10-year anniversary leading up to the Truth or Square special. Later during that week, even Nick At Nite aired a special about the production of the show.
  • On 7/18/10, an unannounced twelve hour marathon of SpongeBob aired on the channel, before an airing of Adventures in Babysitting. Became Hilarious in Hindsight when a remake of that movie was announced for Disney Channel, a rival network, in 2016.
  • On 7/29/10, of the 11 hours of Nickelodeon not including Nick @ 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.
  • During 2010, the Australian Nickelodeon had SpongeBob running from 12AM-6AM every night, for over a year.
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  • A schedule change in April 2011 resulted in SpongeBob having over 60 airings that week.
  • The UK Nickelodeon had a 502 hour marathon of SpongeBob in Summer 2011 (that's two hours short of three solid weeks) for the Clash of the Bottom competition, where kids had to vote for their favorite main character. To top that off, it was the UK's second-longest TV show marathon of all time, only being beaten by Boomerang UK's Scooby Summer.
  • On July 21, 2012 Nick aired a SpongeBob marathon to promote the "Super-Spongey Square Games", an hour-long block of new episodes devoted to sports. They also aired the 1-hour special "Truth or Square" and the movie.
  • 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 air on Nickelodeon, other Viacom networks, and networks that aren't owned by Viacom! note  This died down around the time The Loud House premiered, however.
  • Hollywood news website Deadline reported that in January 2012, SpongeBob filled up about a quarter of Nickelodeon's schedule. As of October 2013, the Sponge now accounts for roughly 45% of the network's airtime!
  • Nick had a SpongeBob "Win-a-thon" on June 8th, 2014 for no reason, followed by the network premiere of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium.
  • By late 2014, it seemed like SpongeBob was getting fewer and fewer airings, prompting some suspicion that the show would suffer the same fate as Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? suffered when ABC treated it the same way for many years. Then in December of that year, Nick did a 360 and showed endless marathons so that they could promote the then-upcoming Sponge Out Of Water feature filmnote . When that was said and done, Nick would once again diminish SpongeBob's presence on the channel so they could focus on their live-action fare which includes shows like The Thundermans, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn, Henry Danger, and The Haunted Hathaways to compete with Disney.
  • And then came April 2015, when after years and years of ignoring analysts who downgraded the company and cable companies who dumped the channel for binge-marathoning a series the same way anyone else can through Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, Viacom braced for major cutbacks, and among them (besides actual employees) are SpongeBob reruns. As a side effect of these cutbacks, Nickelodeon would finally embrace series from other companies for the first time in years, starting with Oggy and the Cockroaches (a show that did nothing on Fox Kids in 1998, but looked fresh and original on present-day Nickelodeon). That said, Oggy didn't last quite long on Nick, as it came under fire by Moral Guardians due to a brief image of a topless woman in the episode "Unhappy Campers", and the show was moved to sister channel Nicktoons with its timeslot replaced by The Fairly OddParents! (and on some days by Harvey Beaks or a live-action show). It says something when Nicktoons itself airs more SpongeBob reruns in primetime than Nickelodeon itself does. (As an additional consequence, Oggy also affected many places which showed Nick to entertain kids, as they now changed channels to rival channels due to this episode's airing.)
  • Now the show only airs for two and a half to three hours a day, and the network is now mostly made up of kid coms to lure in viewers of their rival network into watching their channel as a result of shows such as Girl Meets World, K.C. Undercover and even Sofia the First outperforming SpongeBob in ratings.
  • As of November 2015, the show airs six times a day due to the popularity of ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks. They even brought back Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) to the schedule after a long time of not being on the main channel. Again, it really says something when the Nicktoons Network airs more episodes of SpongeBob than the main network does.note 
  • In Australia, Nickelodeon airs around 4-5 classic episodes in the morning and 4-5 Modern episodes in the evenings.
  • In 2016, there were usually about 6-7 episodes a day in between episodes of ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks and The Loud House.
  • Now in 2017, the usual morning to mid afternoon schedule during non-Nick Jr (Saturdays and Sundays) hours consists of SpongeBob and The Loud House, taking up most of the weekends schedule.
  • In the UK, the Nicktoons subchannel airs nothing but SpongeBob, Alvinnn! And The Chipmunks and The Loud House all day.
  • A nearly all-day marathon of SpongeBob occured on Saint Patrick's Day 2018, followed by a new episode of Henry Danger and an encore of The Loud House episode "Pipe Dreams".
  • On April 28, 2018, they showed a marathon of Mermaidman and Barnacle Boy-themed episodes to compete with the opening weekend of Avengers: Infinity War, a highly-anticipated movie about superheroes. It makes some sense, as the channel did notably show a couple of exclusive sneak peaks of the film during their programming. And also the fact that said film referenced the show (and also raised several questions about the existence of two actors who've appeared in both properties, as well as one of the people who did special effects for the Framing Device segments of Party Pooper Pants also working on Infinity War). They did the same thing for Avengers: Endgame a year later from April 28th to 29th, but this time, it was all day long and only stopped for a new Rainbow Butterfly Unicorn Kitty, as well as reruns of Ryan's Mystery Playdate and The Loud House, which ended with the Nickelodeon premiere of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
  • On July 7, 2018, Nickelodeon had an mid-morning to mid-afternoon marathon (only stopping for a new episode of Power Rangers Ninja Steel) to compete with the premiere of Summer Camp Island on Cartoon Network.
  • Starting on July 2018, SpongeBob reruns have suddenly snuck into the early hours of Nick @ Nite, thus making the weekly amount of SpongeBob airing on Nick matches to the time when its reruns was at an all time high between 2008-2011.
  • For some reason, Nick seems to be fond of airing both SpongeBob movies. The 2004 movie normally airs on holidays, big events, and whenever there isn't enough movies to play. But ever since Sponge Out of Water debuted on television, it has been played on Nickelodeon almost every week. It makes you wonder if Nick even acknowledge the rest of the movies they produced.
  • Since August 2018, nothing but SpongeBob reruns airs on the Nicktoons channel from 11PM (8PM as of 2019) to 6AM, every single day. Nick Australia and New Zealand also does the same overnight marathon shtick.
  • A marathon was held on January 20, 2019 to entertain children stuck inside their houses due to a snowstorm that hit most of the East Coast. Ironically, "The Ballad of Flirty Muck", the episode that premiered that day, ended up being the first episode in SpongeBob history to premiere under 1 million viewers as a result as declining cable ratings and most households losing power during the aforementioned snowstorm.
  • On the day of the 53rd Super Bowl, "The Secret Box / Band Geeks" played several times throughout the day. Due to the outcry from the Sweet Victory/Sicko Mode Bait-and-Switch, the episode was played every day after the fiasco that week out of respect.
  • On TV Osaka, the show is one of two animated programs to air every single day (the other being re-runs of Yo-Kai Watch).
  • Ever since February of 2019, Nickelodeon has taken to airing "Something Smells; Bossy Boots" every other morning, usually before the Nick Jr. block.
  • The Pluto TV Nickelodeon channel is a weird case of this: while SpongeBob is the most-aired program with 11 airings a day, it's sandwiched in between 90 minute to 2 hour long blocks of other shows. Compare this to the actual channel itself, which usually airs it as much as two to four hours in a row.
  • From July 7th to July 11th, Nicktoons Network had a 4-day marathon to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the show with every episode ever airing in order and to promote the SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout special. It was planned to be extended to the 12th, but stopped on the 11th at 6:00 AM EST. The main network themselves only aired the marathon on the 12th (the day of the actual special) from 10AM to 8PM so that PAW Patrol, Ryan's Mystery Playdate, note  Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, and the All That reboot could air as usual. However, there was a slight increase in re-runs of the show that week, which took over slots for other shows like The Loud House, Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? and Cousins For Life
    • On the same week as the anniversary special, Double Dare had a week themed around SpongeBob, something which hasn't happened before for any Nicktoon.
    • SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout got this treatment even after airing. In a similar treatment to several special episodes of fellow Nickelodeon series PAW Patrol and The Loud House, Nick aired the special not only every single day after it's premiere, but twice on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the month after the premiere.
  • On September 8, 2019, a nearly all-day marathon aired (only stopping for a rerun of Middle School Moguls and 3 1/2 hours of The Loud House) to compete with the FX premiere of The Emoji Movie.

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