For the first time since 1994, the Scripps National Spelling Bee won’t air live on ESPN platforms next year. Instead, the nation’s longest-running educational competition will be shown on ION and Bounce in 2022.
Since the two broadcast television networks are two of America’s most popular, the bee will be accessible to the widest audience in its nearly 100-year history.
ION, No. 5 most-watched entertainment network in primetime, and Bounce, America’s first and No. Each network is available in almost 120 million homes across the country.
The E.W. The Scripps Company, which also owns ION (and Bounce) is the long-serving steward of bees.
The June 2 competition is free and available over-the air to viewers, as well as via streaming and cable. Scripps Networks will soon announce the full broadcast schedules as well as streaming plans.
“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,” said Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson. “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,” Durnil said.
December 31 is the deadline for schools to register in the 2022 program. Schools bees take place in the fall and early years of 2022. Regional bees run from February 1 to March 31. After a break in 2020 and 2021, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center will host the national competition.
You can visit spellingbee.comFind out more about the competition.