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Thursday, May 30, 2019

'Jeopardy' Contestant James Holzhauer's SpongeBob Knowledge Helps Him Near Ken Jennings' Record

James Holzhauer continued his epic run on Jeopardy on Tuesday, May 28 - extending his streak to 29 straight wins and putting his total winnings at $2,254,293 USD. And this time, he can thank his cartoon knowledge for helping him lock up the win!

With Holzhauer going up against Sara and a dude named Jim-Bob, the Jeopardy star went into the Final Jeopardy round with a considerable lead.

The Final Jeopardy clue read, “This cartoon character was based on a character in the educational comic The Intertidal Zone.” While Jim-Bob, who was stuck at $8,400, wagered nearly his entire total (and got it wrong), Holzhauer ensured that he would hold on to win with an $18,000 bet.

The correct question was … “Who is SpongeBob SquarePants?” Both James and Sara had it correct.

Stephen Hillenburg, the late creator of the beloved Nickelodeon animated series and a trained marine biologist — first dreamt up the series' "somewhat nerdy, squeaky clean oddball" protagonist whilst teaching marine biology at the Orange County Marine Institute in 1989.

As a marine science teacher and self-described "ocean freak," Hillenburg has said he first drew natural sponges for the series, but after sketching a square household sponge, "it looked so funny" that he knew his star had been born.

Bob the Sponge in 'The Intertidal Zone'

After a few years, Hillenburg realized that his true passion was for art, and enrolled in Cal Arts’ prestigious animation program.

After graduation, Hillenburg made a few experimental shorts before being hired as a director on Nickelodeon’s Rocko’s Modern Life. When that series went off the air, some of his co-workers started pressing him to put a pitch together for his own show. One of the characters from The Intertidal Zone, Bob the Sponge, would be the core. He put a presentation together complete with a underwater terrarium with character models in it and it impressed Nick executives enough for them to fund a pilot in 1997.

They had two weeks to put it together, and Hillenburg and creative director Derek Drymon were panicked that it wouldn’t go over. But that first 11 minute clip was so solid that the Nick brass immediately watched it again and then decided to make SpongeBob SquarePants into an animated series.

He first named his "absorbent and yellow and porous" creation "SpongeBoy," but due to copyright issues with a mop company, he swapped a letter and settled on SpongeBob. He reportedly deemed it important to keep "sponge" in the moniker, out of fear that kids may mistake SpongeBob for a block of cheese.

With the win, James is within striking distance of Ken Jennings’ record of $2,520,700. He stands $265,762 away from history.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of SpongeBob SquarePants, and Nickelodeon are commemorating 20 years of SpongeBob SquarePants with "Best Year Ever", a year-long global celebration of one of the most iconic TV series and characters ever created. The “Best Year Ever” includes with the premiere of “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” an original mixed live-action and animated special, and leads up to the Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies theatrical, The SpongeBob Movie: It's a Wonderful Sponge, coming summer 2020.

It’s SpongeBob’s birthday in “SpongeBob’s Big Birthday Blowout,” which features for the first time the celebrated voice talent behind SpongeBob, Patrick, Mr. Krabs, Sandy, Squidward and Plankton playing live-action doppelgänger versions of the animated characters they voice. In the one-hour special, Patrick and SpongeBob journey to the surface world, where they come across a few familiar characters during lunchtime rush at The Trusty Slab restaurant. Meanwhile, the Bikini Bottom residents set up a surprise party for SpongeBob. The special, premiering Friday, July 12, at 7:00 p.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon USA, also features special guest stars, including David Hasselhoff (Baywatch), Jack Griffo (The Thundermans), Daniella Perkins (Knight Squad), and Kel Mitchell (All That, Game Shakers).

SpongeBob launched July 17, 1999, and has reigned as the number-one kids’ animated series on TV for the last 17 years, generating a universe of beloved characters, pop culture catchphrases and memes, theatrical releases, consumer products, a Tony award-winning Broadway musical and a global fan base.

Nickelodeon also recently revealed plans for a series of SpongeBob SquarePants spin-offs.

“That’s our Marvel Universe,” Nickelodeon president Brian Robbins said in February. “You have this amazing show that’s run for almost twenty years.”

Robbins pledged that the network would still continue to make our favorite yellow sponge. They’re simply looking to expand on the idea.

As far as spinoff options go, Robbins states they may be looking to “tell an original story about SpongeBob and Patrick, or maybe tell a Sandy Cheeks stand-alone story, or can Plankton have his own? I think the fans are clamoring for it.”

More Nick: Nickelodeon USA to Premiere 'Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader' on Monday, June 10, 2019 at 7:00 p.m. (ET/PT)!

Original source FTW! Culture.
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