Nickelodeon orders more 'SpongeBob'

Picks up 26 episodes, bringing total series number to 178

Nickelodeon has handed out a 26-episode pickup to veteran animated series "SpongeBob SquarePants."

The new order brings the total number of episodes for the series to 178.

"After a decade on our air, 'SpongeBob' has emerged as one of the most beloved and popular characters in television history," said Brown Johnson, president of animation for Nickelodeon/MTVN Kids & Family Group.

The pickup comes on the heels of the SpongeBob "Truth or Square" 10th anniversary special, which drew 7.7 million total viewers on Nov. 6.

"SpongeBob SquarePants" is executive produced by creator Stephen Hillenburg.