Nickelodeon’s most-watched premieres

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Published: July 3, 2019
Updated: January 9, 2023

TV ratings are complicated. There are demos, viewers, “ratings”, shares, households, and numerous other terms that are used to differentiate different sets of ratings data. A commonly reported number for many years (at least since the mid-2000s) has been total viewers – all people ages 2 and up – that are watching a program.

Nickelodeon had been the #1 kids network, with actual kid demos (2-5, 2-11, 6-11, etc.) since the 1980s, and #1 with total viewers across all of cable since 1996. That changed in the late 2000s and early 2010s. Disney Channel took their crown for a short time. Today it’s hard to tell who can proudly wear what (as TV ratings are really bad).

Nevertheless, Nickelodeon has been very successful with TV ratings. So let’s take a look at their most watched premieres of all time!

Please Note:

  • Data is based on total viewer (ages 2+) ratings for Live (through 12/25/2005) and Live + Same Day (since 12/26/2005) from Nielsen Media Research.
  • Live + Same Day (Live+SD) includes DVR playback through 3:00am on the same day/night. It has been the standard reported number since 2006. Before that, just Live viewing was counted.
  • Available data only. Chart includes all known premieres with 6,000,000+ total viewers.
  • This list only includes premiere telecast ratings. Repeats excluded. (Yes, there are repeats that could be on this list if it weren’t just for premieres!)
  • Sources include Zap2it, TV by the Numbers, The Programming Insider, The Futon Critic, Travis Yanan, Son of the Bronx, Ratings Ryan, and other TV ratings resources over the past couple decades!
Rank Program
“Episode” or Notes
Live/Live+SD Total Viewers Date
Day Time
1 Rugrats
“All Growed Up”
11,913,000 Jul-21-2001
Sat 8:00p
2 iCarly
“iSaved Your Life”
11,164,000 Jan-18-2010
Mon 8:00p
3 iCarly
“iQuit iCarly”
8,848,000 Dec-5-2009
Sat 8:00p
4 The Fairly OddParents
“Fairly OddBaby”
8,809,000 Feb-18-2008
Mon 8:00p
5 SpongeBob SquarePants
“Atlantis SquarePantis”
8,757,000 Nov-12-2007
Mon 8:00p
6 SpongeBob SquarePants
“Dunces and Dragons”
8,560,000 Feb-20-2006
Mon 8:00p
7 Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh
Nickelodeon Original Movie
8,095,000 Dec-5-2008
Fri 8:00p
8 SpongeBob SquarePants
“Have You Seen This Snail?”
7,934,000 Nov-11-2005
Fri 8:00p
9 iCarly
“iFight Shelby Marx”
7,866,000 Aug-8-2009
Sat 8:00p
10 iCarly
“iGot A Hot Room”
7,740,000 Jul-30-2010
Fri 8:00p
11 Kids’ Choice Awards 2009 7,675,000 Mar-28-2009
Sat 8:00p
12 SpongeBob SquarePants
“What Ever Happened to SpongeBob?”
7,666,000 Oct-13-2008
Mon 8:00p
13 SpongeBob SquarePants
“Truth or Square”
7,658,000 Nov-6-2009
Fri 8:00p
14 Kids’ Choice Awards 2010 7,639,000 Mar-27-2010
Sat 8:00p
15 SpongeBob SquarePants
“The Sponge Who Could Fly”
7,635,000 Mar-21-2003
Fri 9:30p
16 iCarly
“iGo to Japan”
7,599,000 Nov-8-2008
Sat 8:00p
17 FRED: The Movie 7,597,000 Sept-18-2010
Fri 8:00p
18 iCarly
“iThink They Kissed”
7,564,000 Sept-12-2009
Sat 8:00p
19 iCarly
7,518,000 Jun-4-2010
Fri 8:00p
20 Kids’ Choice Awards 2008 7,449,000 Mar-29-2008
Sat 8:00p
21 iCarly
7,355,000 Apr-9-2011
Sat 8:00p
22 iCarly
“iParty With VICTORiOUS”
7,316,000 Jun-11-2011
Sat 8:00p
23 The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie (2004)
Nickelodeon TV premiere
7,307,000 Nov-10-2006
Fri 8:00p
24 Kids’ Choice Awards 2011 7,287,000 Apr-2-2011
Sat 8:00p
25 Zoey 101
“Goodbye, Zoey?”
7,276,000 Jan-4-2008
Fri 8:00p
26 Big Time Rush
“Big Time School of Rocque”
6,773,000 Jan-18-2010
Mon 8:30p
27 iCarly
6,697,000 Oct-11-2010
Mon 8:00p
28 SpongeBob SquarePants
“Best Day Ever”
6,658,000 Nov-10-2006
Fri 7:30p
29 iCarly
“iDate A Bad Boy”
6,472,000 May-9-2009
Sat 8:00p
30 The Penguins of Madagascar
“Launchtime / Haunted Habitat”
6,439,000 Mar-28-2009
Sat 9:30p
6,430,000 Nov-23-2012
Fri 8:00p
SpongeBob SquarePants
“Party Pooper Pants”
6,321,000 May-17-2002
Fri 9:30p
“iLook Alike”
6,299,000 Mar-7-2009
Sat 8:00p
Kids’ Choice Awards 2012 6,162,000 Mar-31-2012
Sat 8:00p
“Beggin’ on Your Knees”
6,152,000 Apr-2-2011
Sat 9:30p
SpongeBob SquarePants
“Pest of the West”
6,141,000 Apr-11-2008
Fri 8:00p
Kids’ Choice Awards 2007 6,115,000 Mar-31-2007
Sat 8:00p
SpongeBob SquarePants
“The Great Patty Caper”
6,102,000 Nov-11-2010
Thu 8:00p
SpongeBob SquarePants
“The Monster Who Came to Bikini Bottom / Welcome to the Bikini Bottom Triangle”
6,054,000 Jan-28-2011
Fri 8:30p
Zoey 101
“Fake Roommate”
6,023,000 Jan-27-2008
Sun 8:30p
SpongeBob SquarePants
“Sponge-Cano! / The Main Drain”
6,004,000 Jan-28-2011
Fri 8:00p