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Year 2004 (MMIV) was a leap year of the Gregorian calendar that started on a Thursday. The year aired only 7 episodes and had a theatrical film on November 19th After this, no new episodes would air until May 6, 2005. This is the second leap year in a row to have a 6-month hiatus between April and October. This happened for the first time in 2000, which was also a leap year. It is the third shortest year for SpongeBob, aside from the previous year 2003, and 2014.
This was intended to be the last year of SpongeBob before the show was cancelled, but due to popular request and extreme commercial success of the movie, it was renewed.
2004 was the 4th year of the 3rd millennium, as well as the 21st century and the fifth year of the 2000's decade.