Rugrats is an American animated children’s television series created by Arlene Klasky, Gábor Csupó and Paul Germain for Nickelodeon. The show focuses on a group of toddlers, most prominently Tommy, Chuckie, twins Phil and Lil, and Angelica, and their day-to-day lives, usually involving common life experiences that become adventures in the babies’ imaginations.
The series premiered on Sunday, August 11, 1991, as the second Nicktoon after Doug and before The Ren & Stimpy Show. Production was initially halted in 1993 after 65 episodes, with the last episode airing on May 22, 1994. From 1995 to 1996, the only new episodes broadcast were “A Rugrats Passover” and “A Rugrats Chanukah”, two Jewish-themed episodes that received critical acclaim; during this time, well after the end of the show’s production run, Rugrats began to receive a boost in ratings and popularity, due to constant reruns on Nickelodeon. In 1996, Klasky Csupo Animation began producing new episodes, and the show’s fourth season began airing in 1997. As a result of the show’s popularity, a series of theatrical films were released; The Rugrats Movie, which introduced Tommy’s younger brother Dil, was released in 1998, Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, which introduced Kimi, Kira and Fifi, released in 2000, and Rugrats Go Wild, a crossover film with fellow Klasky Csupo series The Wild Thornberrys, released in 2003. The final episode aired on August 1, 2004, bringing the series to a total of 172 episodes and nine seasons during a 13-year run, tying Rugrats with King of the Hill, American Dad!, Robot Chicken and Squidbillies as the eighth longest-running American animated television series.
On July 21, 2001, Nickelodeon broadcast the made-for-TV special “All Growed Up” in celebration of the series’ 10th anniversary. The special acted as a pilot for the Rugrats spin-off series All Grown Up!, which chronicles the lives of the babies and their parents after aging 10 years. Another spin-off series, Rugrats Pre-School Daze, was considered, but only four episodes were produced. Two direct-to-video specials were released in 2005 and 2006, under the title Rugrats Tales from the Crib. Tie-in media for the series include video games, comics, toys and various other merchandise.
Rugrats gained over 20 awards during its 13-year run, including 4 Daytime Emmy Awards, 6 Kids’ Choice Awards, and its own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The series garnered high ratings on Nickelodeon and was the network’s top-rated show from 1995 to 2001. It was Nickelodeon’s longest-running cartoon for 8 years until 2012, when SpongeBob SquarePants aired its 173rd episode. It is now Nickelodeon’s second longest running animated series, behind SpongeBob SquarePants.