SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series. Created by marine biologist and animator Stephen Hillenburg, it is broadcast on Nickelodeon, an American cable network. Since its debut on May 1, 1999, the series has aired a over 188 episodes and is currently in its ninth season, which premiered on July 21, 2012. The series follows the adventures of the title character and his various friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom.
Hillenburg initially conceived the show in 1984 and began to work on it 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."
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, and on November 6, 2009, the second television film, Truth or Square premiered. 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. The first eight seasons are available on DVD for Regions 1, 2 and 4 as of March 12, 2013.