LOS ANGELES, Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- It's a sad day in Bikini Bottom when SpongeBob learns that his beloved pet snail Gary is missing and that he may be at fault in the mollusk's disappearance. In "Where's Gary," a half-hour special premiering on Nickelodeon Friday, November 11 at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), Gary runs away from home after feeling neglected by SpongeBob and is "adopted" by a new owner. After realizing the error of his ways, SpongeBob sets out with his best friend Patrick to search high and low for his adored pet and bring him back to his rightful home. Launched in July 1999, the Emmy-nominated series has since emerged as a pop culture phenomenon and has held rank as one of the top kids' shows on broadcast and cable television since its debut. "Kids love their pets and there's certainly some relatability here in the relationship between SpongeBob and Gary -- skewed though it may be," said Marjorie Cohn, Executive Vice President, Development and Original Programming, Nickelodeon. "It's fun to see Gary express a whole range of emotions using only his signature 'meow.'" When SpongeBob (voiced by Tom Kenny) forgets to feed Gary for several weeks while attempting to beat the paddle-ball world record, Gary becomes disillusioned and runs away from home. While living on the rough streets of downtown Bikini Bottom, the down-and-out snail is taken in by a strange but kindly old woman (voiced by Amy Poehler, Saturday Night Live) who mistakes him for one of her other beloved pets. One week later, when SpongeBob snaps out of his paddle-ball obsession, he realizes that he has forgotten to take care of Gary, who is now missing. With the help of his well-meaning but dim best friend Patrick, SpongeBob sets out on a town-wide search to find his pet mollusk and return him home. Meanwhile, as Gary is wrapped in comfy blankets and indulged in an endless assortment of snacks, he discovers a dark secret about this sweet old woman. SpongeBob SquarePants has consistently been one of the top rated kids' shows on television, with the Saturday play of the series ranking as the number one rated program among Kids 2-11. Nearly 53.7 million viewers tune into the show each month, making it the most watched show on Nickelodeon among Total Viewers (ages two and up) including 22.1 million Kids 2-11, 12.7 million Tweens 9-14 and 12.9 million Adults 18+. (Source: Nielsen Cume Data -- May 2005). SpongeBob's adult viewers also continue to tune-in and have increased by 31% since the premiere of the show in 1999. Nickelodeon is supporting the special with a month long off-air marketing campaign that includes print, outdoor and consumer product partner support. For five days leading up to the "Where's Gary" premiere, kids can watch Nickelodeon and log onto Nick.com to enter the SpongeBob SquarePants "Where's Gary?" Sweepstakes. Every night on-air, Patchy the Pirate and other celebrity guests will search in different locations for Gary. By visiting Nick.com, kids can get a "Trail of The Snail" tracking card and enter the Patchy's search locations in order to be eligible to win the sweepstakes. The grand prize is a trip to the Nicktoons Studio to meet the production team of SpongeBob SquarePants and the opportunity to sit in on a voice recording session with the cast. Prior to the premiere of the "Where's Gary?" special, Nickelodeon will offer a sneak peek and bonus coverage of the special on Nickelodeon's broadband online platform TurboNick, available on Nick.com. Kids can also visit Nick.com where a snail-seeking undersea adventure awaits in the "Trail of the Snail" Flash game. In addition, on November 15, kids can pick up the SpongeBob SquarePants "Where's Gary" DVD at select retailers. SpongeBob SquarePants is created and executive produced by Stephen Hillenburg, who previously worked as a writer, director and creative director on Nickelodeon's animated series, Rocko's Modern Life. Hillenburg graduated from the California Institute of the Arts with a master's degree in Experimental Animation and studied marine biology and art as an undergraduate. Before beginning a career in animation, Hillenburg worked with kids as a science educator and staff artist at the Orange County Marine Institute. Hillenburg created and executive produced The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie which hit theaters in November 2004. Paul Tibbitt served as a director and writer on SpongeBob SquarePants for all three seasons and is executive producer of the fourth. He wrote some of the show's most memorable episodes such as "Ripped Pants" and "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy." Tibbitt is one of the co-writers and storyboard artists on The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie. SpongeBob SquarePants is a Nicktoons Production and is produced at the Nicktoons Studio in Burbank, CA. Nickelodeon, now in its 26th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon's U.S. television network is seen in more than 89 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than nine consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc.