The ninth season of SpongeBob SquarePants was announced on Monday January 3, 2011. A total of 26 episodes will be produced for the season, which began airing July 21, 2012. It will bring the number of episodes up to 204 and will pass the 200-episode milestone. The season premiered with the episode "Extreme Spots" on July 21, 2012. This will also be the first season to be produced in HD.