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‘SpongeBob’ receives ninth season pickup

Nickelodeon greenlights 26 additional episodes

“SpongeBob SquarePants” continues to be seaworthy for Nickelodeon.

The kid cabler has picked up a ninth season of the popular toon. Network is adding 26 episodes, which will roll out in 2012.

“SpongeBob” has been the No. 1 animated series for kids 2-11 for 10 straight years. Special “Mystery With a Twistery” was the top animated telecast in the demo in 2010, drawing 6.6 million total viewers. Next “SpongeBob” special, hourlong “Legends of Bikini Bottom,” is set to air Jan. 28.

Stephen Hillenburg is creator and exec producer of “SpongeBob,” which is produced by Nicktoons.

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