Scripps National Spelling Bee To Air Live On Ion & Bounce In 2022
The Scripps National Spelling Bee will air live on two U.S. broadcast television networks in 2022, making it accessible to the widest audience in its nearly 100-year history.
The 2022 national competition on June 2 will mark a new chapter for the Bee as it makes its primetime debut on Ion and Bounce, available free and over-the-air to viewers as well as on cable and streaming. Scripps Networks will announce full broadcast schedules and streaming plans in early 2022.
According to Scripps, “Ion, the No. 5 most-watched entertainment network in primetime, and Bounce, America’s first and No. 2 most-watched African American-focused over-the-air network, are each available in nearly 120 million households across the country.”
The Bee is the nation’s longest-running educational competition, having launched in 1925, and has aired on ESPN platforms since 1994. The E.W. Scripps Co. is the longtime steward of the competition and also owns Ion and Bounce — a relationship that it says will allow the Bee to engage its largest audience yet.
“The Scripps National Spelling Bee is a beloved American treasure enjoyed by generations of participants and viewers annually,” Scripps President and CEO Adam Symson said. “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. 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.
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, Md., where the national competition will return after a hiatus in 2020 and its Orlando venue in 2021.