SpongeBob SquarePants is an American animated television series created by marine science educator and animator Stephen Hillenburg for Nickelodeon. The series chronicles the adventures and endeavors of the title character and his friends in the fictional underwater city of Bikini Bottom. The fifth-longest-running American animated series, its popularity has made it a media franchise. It is the highest rated series to air on Nickelodeon and Viacom Media Networks' most distributed property. As of late 2017, the media franchise has generated $13 billion in merchandising revenue for Nickelodeon.