"The Best Year Ever" celebration kicks off on July 12 with the premiere of "SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout," an original mixed live-action and animated special. The special will see the voice actors behind the series' characters play live-action versions of the characters they voice.
The story will follow Patrick and SpongeBob as they travel to the surface world at the same time the residents of Bikini Bottom work to throw the yellow character a surprise birthday party.
Nickelodeon will continue to fete the milestone anniversary with new products from master toy partner Alpha Group. New play items include figures that incorporate SpongeBob’s fan-favorite viral memes like Mocking SpongeBob, Imagination SpongeBob, Surprised Patrick, SpongeGar and Handsome Squidward. And for the first-time ever, SpongeBob toys that incorporate Nickelodeon Slime will be available. Some toys are available now on Amazon, while others will roll out to other retailers worldwide.
Apparel partners include Cynthia Rowley for a “SpongeBob” wetsuit that debuted at New York Fashion Week on Feb. 12.
Artist Romero Britto will create mixed-media art that will be exhibited at pop-up “SpongeBob” experiences across the U.S. throughout the year.
The network will also launch a dedicated YouTube channel, mobile game, the first line of “SpongeBob”-themed cosmetics and more.
"The tiny residents of Bikini Bottom have held the world’s attention for a remarkable 20 years, and we owe it all to the monumental creator Stephen Hillenburg," says Ramsey Naito, executive vice president, animation production and development, Nickelodeon. "This anniversary special is a love letter to everyone in the universe of 'SpongeBob,' from the fans across the globe to the incredible creative team, crew and talent who continue to bring these great characters to life."
"SpongeBob SquarePants" premiered on July 17, 1999 and has been the No. 1 animated series on television for the last 17 years, according to a company statement. The series has spawned memes, films, consumer products, a Tony Award-winning Broadway musical and more.
"SpongeBob SquarePants" airs in 208 countries and has been translated into more than 55 languages. The late Stephen Hillenburg created the series.
The anniversary celebration will lead up to the theatrical release of Paramount Pictures' and Nickelodeon Movies' feature film The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge, which hits theaters in summer 2020.