hillenburg-spongebob hillenburg-spongebob

‘SpongeBob’ Creator Stephen Hillenburg Returning to His Show


Paul Tibbit, a veteran of SpongeBob SquarePants not to mention director of the highly anticipated Sponge Out of Water feature, made an intriguing announcement on his Twitter account a few days ago:


So what does Hillenburg’s return mean and how will it change the show? That remains to be seen. But as far as I know, Hillenburg hasn’t had hands-on involvement in the series for many years, leaving the task to his experienced and capable crew who run the show like clockwork. However, he didn’t completely wash his hands clean of the characters and has quietly been involved with SpongeBob Comics, which have been published since 2011 by Bongo Comics.

Fifteen years after its debut, SpongeBob remains Nickelodeon’s top ratings-earner, and it’s safe to say that it won’t be leaving the air anytime soon. At this point in the show’s history, Hillenburg’s return to a creative position can certainly be viewed as a positive development.

  • Wait…what?

    I don’t know if I should be happy because that show is his baby or skeptical because this decision is 10 years too late. Who’s to say the show will change all that much when it happens? Needless to say, this news leaves me conflicted, to say the least.


    They have sh*t like Breadwinners and Sanjay-Craig.
    I’d like to mention Fanboy and Chum Chum, but that fortunately got cancelled.

    • TheAntTony

      Hey! I like Sanjay and Craig!

  • itsameluigi1290

    “What? It’s just an ordinary episode of Sponge– OH MY GOODNESS.”

    • TrueBlue170

      “We’ve soiled the good SpongeBob SquarePants name! SOILED IT! SOILED IT! SOILED IT! SOILED IT!”

      • Paul Thurott

        I’ll sell you the LoK IP for 62cents, a tiny plastic treasure chest, a slightly used ghostly sock, a bucket of chum, a shit load of broken snail shells/soda drink hats, Mrs Krabs’ panties and last but not least…free toy?

    • n3rd_d4sh


  • I’m REALLY skeptical about this. And why shouldn’t I be? Spongebob has been tanking in recent years. If all it takes is the creator coming back, all right! Fantastic! But I think we all know it takes more than that.

    It takes getting the old crew (or even a new, fresh group) to tackle the project. Nothing’s gonna get better if they just ignore the actual problem: the writing. I mean, say what you will, but Spongebob’s new episodes *look* great. It’s just that the jokes, plots, characters… pretty much EVERYTHING else has dipped in quality.

  • starss

    Then he slaps everyone.

  • Thomas Thirlwall


  • Matthew Broussard

    “No more Squidward torture porns”

    Wait, what?

    • Roberto Severino

      Some term this YouTuber by the name of MoBroStudios came up with when he did his Top 20 Worst SpongeBob episodes videos. It was supposed to be humorous and now I just see a bunch of people use that term so seriously it hurts.

    • LOLWUT

      There are plenty of modern SB episodes where Squidward gets all the torment for no actual reason at all. Boat Smarts, Breath of Fresh Squidward, Smooth Jazz in Bikini Bottom… Need I say more?

      • Same with the older episodes to be quite honest.

        • LOLWUT

          Except in the newer ones, Squidward gets it for no particular reason at all. In the newer ones, the torment wasn’t that cruel and most of the time there was a reason to it.

          • What about in Club SpongeBob? He wasn’t allowed to have any food at all just because he didn’t believe in a stupid conch, making it a stupid reason. I’m done arguing.

          • MagcargoMan

            So ONE episode in Old SpongeBob. ONE. Nad yet you think one instance is even comparable to how frequently it happens in the new episodes.

            Of course you’re done arguing. There’s no point in defending a show that jumped the shark a long time ago.

  • truteal

    Tell me when Kazimieras G. Prapuolenis returns

  • Mowalski

    They have The Legend of Kor… oh wait, never mind.

  • DJM

    Now just bring back Kaz and Sam Henderson, and everything will be right in the world!

    I still remember Kaz’s old chocolate lady!

    “Chocolate?…I remember chocolate…”

    • KAZ is writing a story in SpongeBob Comics #39, maybe he could return to the show.

  • Roberto Severino

    That’s exactly what I said elsewhere. Hillenburg was not the only person of what made the show great. Animation is a collaborative effort through and through and it’s pretty unfair to exclude anyone else that may have moved on. I never hear anyone give Merriwether Williams credit for her story editing and writing for example and she’s really done quite a lot since her days of working on the show.

    Also he’s still been an executive producer on the show the entire time even through semiretirement so he’s still had involvement to a certain extent through giving out notes and stuff. He basically has held a Seth MacFarlane / Matt Groening like position on the show. He’s not really a showrunner or anything like before but has still had input on the stories that have been done since the movie.

    The main thing the post movie era had in common with pre movie is that people like Erik Wiese and Aaron Springer stayed around for a while. Otherwise, a ton of the people who worked on the earlier era of the show moved on long ago and obviously the show whether we like it or not is really different from what it was in a lot of ways now. Also a lot of the new crew has already moved on to work on stuff like Uncle Grandpa so I think there could potentially be another crew working on these new episodes.

  • Crystal

    Retcon? There’s no real continuity–this isn’t Adventure Time.

  • Wait, HILLENBERG is okay with the new episodes????

    • Pretty much. It’s not like all of them are terrible in the first place.

      • Yeah, but it would be a shock if he’s okay with episodes like “One Course Meal” and “To Love a Patty.”

        • Avery Williams

          He actually said One Coarse Meal was his most hated episode of all time. If only he got back into it then, that would have saved a lot of trouble (and unnecessary Squidward Torture Porn).

      • Ben

        Are you kidding me? The animation is such Flash-y shoddy crap now. The physicalhumor is awkward and laughably innefective. The scripted jokes are inexcusably patheticly unfunny. There is no attempt to create memorable lines or running gags. Satire and double entendres are wiped clean out. The same music tracks are played over and over and over. The show has been sanded down to a sheet of chalk. It’s lost its dimensional edge and there’s no doubting that. I hope the reason for Hillenburgs return is because he’s found the motivation to make something great again.

        • Lately in Seasons 8 and 9 they’ve been starting using the older music tracks.

  • Joshua Marchant

    People have been saying “He never left” since 2005. He hasn’t contributed creatively to the show since then. He’s an executive producer.

  • Joshua Marchant

    I disagree. They seem to be a very timid studio, much more than Cartoon Network or even Disney who are taking risks on new shows and having big hits in return. Adventure Time, Gravity Falls and the many shows that have followed them are massive successes.
    Meanwhile Nick desperately clings to their hit show from 15 years ago and ruined their relation ship with the creators of Korra/Avatar ensuring they won’t be back to make another series.
    All their new shows, are universally panned by fans and critics. Don’t expect a Breadwinners or Sanjay and Craig movie anytime soon.
    Nickelodeon is losing the studio rat-race, pretty severely.

    • L_Ron_Hoover

      Those are both very recent developments. CN and Disney have been stuck in the mud for a lot longer than Nickelodeon so whether or not they are “ahead of the game” now, that’s doesn’t mean they haven’t been cranking out bombs/flops for the past decade.

      Nickelodeon will catch up, there are some great new shows coming out from what was shown in the recent pilots. The creative teams need to prove to the stubborn exec veterans that “new and unique” is important right now. You will see change in the next couple of years. The Golden Age of TV animation is having its comeback.

      Cartoon Network only recently discovered the motto of “be different” because Adventure Time was the door-opener. Also, when you generalize Nickelodeon as beating a dead horse and ruining relationships with former showrunners, you can look at Cartoon Network bringing back Powerpuff Girls. Their history with Genndy and Craig are not flawless. Do you think Craig is happy that they dug up his show from the grave without his involvement? A lot worse than what you could ever say about Spongebob.

      Nickelodeon certainly needs to change (and it is, you just aren’t seeing it yet) but it is absolutely not as damaged as you all so ignorantly believe. Despite whatever gossip you hear online, you are not informed to how the studio works, let alone any animation studio from what it sounds like. There isn’t some entity screwing up the studio with no rhyme or reason, change takes a long time to happen (especially when the turn-around for animation is 6-months to a year.)

      Be patient.

  • Joshua Marchant

    You’re right that Hillenburg didn’t contribute much past the shows creation beyond the first couple episodes.
    While he can be thanked for coming up with the premise and providing the initial spark most of the credit belongs to the story men and women and artists who have since left the show.

  • TheAntTony

    Personally, I hate Mr. Enter, I think he’s a terrible reviewer who nitpicks everything (except MLP:FIM, which ironically he complains about people nitpicking it). He also focuses way too much on his own personal troubles and always seems to take his opinions as fact, esp when it comes to what’s funny or not.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I guess the episode where SpongeBob and Squidward walked off the job and demanded $15 per hour was the last straw.

  • Steven Bowser

    I always think that they’re going to call it quits, but after 10+ years they’re still going, and the show is still funny.

  • TrueBlue170


  • Goober

    That would be awesome. And Sam Henderson, and Sherm Cohen, and Erik Wiese, and Jay Lender, and Merriweather Williams, and Carl Greenblatt, and ….. you know what? they should get all of the original crew of the classic era and do the show like they did 10 years ago! :D That would be a dream come true!!

  • *reads first sentence*
    Uhh, yeah you can…

  • Source? I never heard him say that at all, and if he did, wouldn’t he have allowed the idea since he’s still was credited as executive producer?

  • He’s been writing a lot of good stories in SB Comics ;)

  • Nemi

    DISNEY and TV animation? Movies are great. I love them. But most of the shows are live action and getting bit…well, old. CN is the only network keeping me going, apart of LOK.

  • SeeWhyInShadowsIHide

    Thank you. Thank you. THANK YOUUUUU! Spongebob was my childhood show, but even after the Spongebob movies came out and the newer seasons were released I realized something was wrong when I did not find the show as funny. (Keep in mind that I was either six or seven when the fourth season aired) I remember I stopped watching around season six, so lucky for me I never had to sit through episodes like “One Course Meal”, “A Pal For Gary”, or “Are You Happy Now” as a child.

    Honestly it pissed me off when I did find out how bad Spongebob got and how disrailed the characters became and how mean spirited the show got.

    I guess you can say I have Spongebob issues.

  • kenny

    Sometimes I just like to think about how brilliant the first three seasons of Spongebob are

    • The first 3 seasons are what’s worth of the rating IMDB gave to the show (8,1) After the movie , everything went preety much down after Hillenburg left the team , I hope his comeback results in a good reputation for the show and great plots for it. Or else we’ll keep getting “To Love a Patty” & “House Fancy”.

  • Mesterius

    I’d think the problem is that Stephen CAN’T decide when Spongebob ends. Nickelodeon owns it. But who knows, maybe Hillenburg reached an agreement with Nick that season 10 will be the last season… and that’s why he’s returning after all this time.

  • Slade

    Disney dominates TV animation? Are you for real?

    They dominate the tween girl demographic with all those stupid sitcoms about singing teenagers that sing and oh did I forgot we sell their songs on iTunes?! GO BUY, GIRLS!

    They have a couple of shows on XD and the rest is canadian-flash garbage.

    CN is the one keeping animation alive.

    • Their few shows on Disney XD (Gravity Falls, Wander Over Yonder, Penn Zero, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Phineas & Ferb, etc.) are some of the most inventive and creative cartoons of this generation.

      • Dregvo

        why is no one mentioning star wars rebels here when talking about good Disney shows?

        • Lol, that was just a cash ploy.

          • Dregvo

            so what if it was? I don’t judge a show by the reason it was created.

  • They need a new popular show to replace it.

  • Season 5 was kind of a mixed bag for me personally, I think that was the season where they had those dumb shorts like waiting.

  • Kamal Walker

    At this rate, he’ll be bringing SpongeBob back to his roots once again for sure! I can hardly wait!

  • Paul Thurott
  • MagcargoMan

    Because even when Post-Movie episodes aren’t being awful they barely rise above mediocrity.

  • Look, I’m really happy that Hillenburg’s gonna be more involved with the show, I really am. But I doubt that the show’s just gonna get back up on its feet after 3 mediocre seasons. It’s going to take time, and it’s not something that’s gonna go back to normal overnight.
    And it’s great that Hillenburg’s returning, but I don’t want him and the rest of the SB crew to be doing the show forever. It’d be cool to see some of the writers / storyboard artists do some of their own stuff. It’d be freaking awesome to see somebody like Doug Lawrence or Vincent Waller have their own show. And I heard a little while ago that Hillenburg is developing more projects. DO YOU KNOW HOW AWESOME THAT WOULD BE?
    And I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again; but Paul Tibbitt and Vincent Waller are not the reason why the show went downhill. It was largely because the network ordered larger seasons and longer episodes. (Which could also explain why there are gaps in years, where we don’t get many new episodes of the show)
    If you ask me, SpongeBob has been improving a lot this season, and if they keep it this way, I think that the remainder of the season will turn out GREAT. Especially with Hillenburg being more involved. (Once again, it will take time for the show to get back up, and this season has a had some hiccups, but I have really high hopes either way)

  • Doolie Han

    Maybe with Hillenburg back in a creative position, we’ll see a more positive shift in the series. I doubt we’ll see anything like the pre-movie episodes, but maybe some new material besides the weekly Plankton attack or Patrick’s stupidity making a mess bits.

  • Ed

    So annoying to see everyone slamming Spongebob. If you watched this as a kid and now commenting on it as a young adult/adult of course you will change your opinion of the show. It’s clearly still a big hit with KIDS (target audience) or else it wouldn’t have been running since ’99.

  • Daniel

    Disney only has gravity falls as a good show…

  • Racine Michelle Miller

    “It’s like a great big hit of acid, just waiting to be taken!” Are you feeling it now Mr. Krabs? Off to Clarinetland!

  • Fuzunga

    Well, they’ve got a few promising things in the pipeline from C.H. Greenblatt and Chris Savino (talent taken from Cartoon Network) but they are taking their sweet time premiering anything worthwhile

  • Fuzunga

    Yeah, without Derek Drymon as creative director… well, we’ll see.

  • joe adams jr

    I missed you Hillenburg!!!

  • JakXGaming

    ive been waiting for this for a long time

  • slickwillard

    Smart move for him to take a step back.

  • GuyWithThePie

    Okay, this is getting annoying. When is Season 10 coming?! It’s been announced all the way back in 2014! We want our good old SpongeBob back!

  • Garnium

    I don’t think I’ll get my hopes up. I can’t really see a show like SpongeBob SquarePants getting any better at this point.

  • I dunno

    Yay! Stephen is going to save his show!