Ang SpongeBob SquarePants ay ang nag-iisang ''kartun''
to consistently make the Top 10 list in the Nielsen ratings , and is the first "low budget" Nickelodeon cartoon, according to the network, to become extremely popular. Low-budget cartoons had not garnered as much esteem as higher- rated (and higher-budgeted) shows, such as Rugrats, although when SpongeBob SquarePants aired in 1999, it had gained a significant enough number of viewers in the ratings to be considered popular, eventually becoming more popular than Rugrats had ever been. SpongeBob follows other Nickelodeon shows that have attracted "older" followers: The Ren & Stimpy Show, Rocko's Modern Life, the Kablam! skits, Action League Now! and The Angry Beavers. Other shows have followed in this trend as well: Invader Zim and The Fairly OddParents won a similar fan base when they aired in 2001, and the latter is now second only to SpongeBob in popularity, while the former was cancelled despite gaining a cult following. The show debuted in 1999, and during that time, DragonBall Z and Pokémon were still the biggest crazes. SpongeBob did not gain its popularity until around 2000, and it has remained popular since then. It has achieved the "Great" rating on tv.com , with a 8.7 rating, the third best rating in Nickelodeon , the first being Avatar: The Last Airbender with a rating of 9.3 and the second being The Fairly OddParents with a rating of 8.8.
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