Scripps is bringing its annual airing of the Scripps National Spelling Bee in-house starting next year. The event will air on two of its own broadcast networks — Ion and Bounce — in primetime on June 2, 2022. Scripps officials said the event will available free and over-the-air as well as on cable and streaming.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been aired on ESPN and its networks since 1994. The spelling bee is the nation’s longest-running educational competition, having launched in 1925.
“The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a beloved American treasure enjoyed by generations of participants and viewers annually. The time is right to bring the iconic competition back to broadcast television, the media platform accessible for free to nearly every American viewer across the country,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said. “As the Bee’s viewership expands through the diverse and fast-growing audiences of ION and Bounce, it is better positioned to connect with the next generation of spellers watching along.”
Dr. J. Michael Durnil, executive director of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, said the Bee’s move to Scripps’ networks provides even greater opportunities to tell the stories of the talented spellers who ascend to the national competition.
“Now we will have a chance to share more of those inspiring stories with new viewers and the growing over-the-air and connected TV audiences,” he said.
Ion is the number 5 most-watched entertainment network in primetime and Bounce is the number 2 most-watched African American-focused over-the-air network. Both are available in nearly 120 million households nationally. Along with Ion and Bounce, Scripps owns the Newsy, Court TV, Grit, Laff, Court TV Mystery, Defy TV, and TrueReal networks, along with 61 broadcast stations in 41 markets around the nation.
The deadline for schools to enroll in the 2022 program is Dec. 31. School bees are held throughout the fall and early 2022, and regional bees run Feb. 1 through March 31. The finalists will advance to the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, where the national competition will return after a hiatus in 2020 and its Orlando venue in 2021. For more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, visit spellingbee.com.