Nickelodeon wants to create its own MCU with SpongeBob SquarePants spinoffs


Viewership for SpongeBob SquarePants is on the decline. So Nickelodeon is planning to make spinoffs for your favorite characters in Bikini Bottom to bring SpongeBob back on top.

For every caveman SpongeBob or confused Mr. Krabs meme you share on Twitter, Nickelodeon is getting next to nothing for it. And while SpongeBob might be thriving in the social media sphere, it’s seeing a decline on its traditional media platform: television.

According to Variety, Nickelodeon President Brian Robbins has a plan to make SpongeBob, well, great again. And that involves expanding the show into spinoffs in order to expand the breadth of content Nickelodeon is able to put out.

“That’s our Marvel Universe,” Robbins said to Variety. And much like Marvel Studios’ beginnings over 10 years ago, it seems like they haven’t really ironed out a solid plan for what’s to come.

Robbins suggested the ideas of: “[telling] an original story about SpongeBob and Patrick, or maybe tell a Sandy Cheeks stand-alone story. Or can Plankton have his own?”

At this rate, I predict any spinoff show can work — if it’s done right. SpongeBob has been on for about 20 years now, and the generation that watched SpongeBob during its golden era (e.g., me and my friends), have moved on from watching the show. At least, we’ve moved on watching new episodes. But the younger audiences are a bit different nowadays.

Before, Nickelodeon had it pretty easy, really only competing with Disney Channel and Cartoon Network for attention on TV. Now, children are attached to phones and tablets. And if they do watch TV, it’s likely through a streaming network via an over-the-top platform (like Google Chrome or Roku). Nickelodeon is competing with Netflix originals, Hulu shows, YouTube channels, and so much more these days that it’s a hard fight to stay on top.

So much so, that Variety reports Nickelodeon saw its key audience (children aged 2 to 11) slip by 24 percent compared to last year. It might not be the biggest slip (Disney Channel’s was 30 percent and Cartoon Network’s was 37 percent), but it’s still almost of a quarter of that audience gone.

As someone with two younger sisters who are their prime audience, I know that children are often selective about what they watch. But when they watch it, they’re hooked.

Robbins suggested that they should be making a larger breadth of shows instead of flooding one or two shows with lots of episodes. But the opposite may be true. The young ones in my home will binge watch an entire series on our Roku until they’ve exhausted it, then they’re on to the next one.

Still, it all boils down to what platform it’s on, what characters are in the show, and how they approach marketing. (The best marketing ploy in 2019, in my eye, is to get one of those ads that pop up in between a game you’re playing. Tik Tok is annoyingly awesome at that. So take note, Nickelodeon.)

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Which SpongeBob character would you like to see get a spinoff? They may be the next meme-star in the making.