If SpongeBob SquarePants is Nickelodeon’s Mickey Mouse, then Patrick Star is its Goofy. The perennial sidekick became the star of the latest extension of the expansive SpongeBob universe with the debut of The Patrick Star Show earlier this month on Nickelodeon.
The series centers on young Patrick, including the often wild interactions he has with his family as he hosts his own TV show from his bedroom. It’s the second SpongeBob SquarePants spinoff, following Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years that premiered on Paramount+ earlier this year. It’s also an example of how ViacomCBS brands and studios are leveraging their iconic IP to create franchises that transcend platforms, characters, and markets.
“We want to speak to our core audience with immersive worlds that continue to grow and evolve with them,” says Ramsey Naito, the president and CEO of Nickelodeon Animation Studio. “Up until this year, we've only seen classic SpongeBob. Now, we have Kamp Koral, which showcases the origin of these great characters' friendships, and The Patrick Star Show, which both digs into the background of Patrick and showcases the time between Kamp Koral and the original SpongeBob series. It’s content designed to invite new audiences in and continue to entertain diehard SpongeBob fans.”
Ensuring franchise lovability and profitability comes down to three things, according to Naito. “It's about talent, vision, and most importantly answering the question: ‘Why now?’” she says. “Nickelodeon is home of some of the greatest franchisable family titles out there, and SpongeBob is a great example of how we’re strategically going about expanding our universes and making sure they continue to be amazing and add value. We're doing the exact same thing for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the exact same thing for Paw Patrol, and the exact same thing for Avatarverse or Avatar.”
In addition to creating programming for its linear cable networks and ViacomCBS internal partners Paramount Pictures and Paramount+, Nickelodeon develops content for emerging platforms like YouTube and Twitch and external partners like Netflix and Apple TV+. As a result, Nickelodeon Animation Studio has increased its slate from 10 productions to nearly 50 in less than three years. In the last year, it hired 500 people.
“We have huge strategic plans to expand these franchises and reach kids and families everywhere and anywhere with new refreshing takes that speak to our time and entertain our audience,” says Naito.