GOOD MORNING AMERICA�S ROBIN ROBERTS TO HOST
�THE 2006 SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE� FINAL ROUNDS
WHEN THEY AIR ON ABC LIVE IN PRIMETIME, THURSDAY JUNE 1
For the First Time the Bee Will Be Broadcast in High Definition Television
With 5.1-Channel Surround Sound
�Good Morning America� anchor Robin Roberts hosts live television coverage of �The 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee,� which moves to primetime this year on the ABC Television Network. ABC will broadcast the final championship rounds of the Bee THURSDAY, JUNE 1 (8:00-10:00 p.m. ET), live from Washington, DC. Preliminary championship rounds will air live earlier in the day on ESPN, which has televised the Bee in its entirety since 1994; the ESPN broadcast is scheduled for 12:00-3:00 p.m., ET. Robin Roberts is an especially fitting choice to host the Bee�s first foray into primetime on ABC, as she hosted the first Bee on ESPN in 1994. �SportsCenter� anchor Chris McKendry returns to host the ESPN portion of the broadcast.
�We are proud to bring the Scripps National Spelling Bee to ABC for the first time in its storied, 79-year history,� said Andrea Wong, ABC�s executive vice president, Alternative Series, Specials and Late-Night Programming. �It�s exciting for us as a network to bring this competition of some of America�s brightest young minds to a broader audience.�
�ABC�s decision to move the Scripps National Spelling Bee to primetime affirms for us how deeply this unique event is ingrained in the American psyche,� said Kenneth W. Lowe, president and chief executive officer for The E. W. Scripps Company. �Now, with a wider national network television audience, more people than ever before will have an opportunity to share in this extraordinary celebration of academic excellence and experience the remarkable intensity of competitive spelling.�
Robin Roberts was named third anchor of �Good Morning America� in 2005, capping off a long career with the show to which she has contributed since June 1995. She has worked in broadcasting for more than 20 years; her other ABC assignments have included hosting segments of �Good Morning America� and �Prime Time.� And from 1990-2005 she was a contributor to ESPN, where her assignments included hosting �SportsCenter,� contributing to �NFL Prime Time,� working as a play-by-play commentator and hosting ESPN�s coverage of the Winter and Summer Olympics.
The Scripps National Spelling Bee, the nation�s largest and longest running educational promotion, is administered on a not-for-profit basis by Scripps and 268 local sponsors. The majority of local spelling bee sponsors are daily and weekly newspapers. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all of their lives.
About 275 champion spellers, ranging in age from 9 to 15 years old, will be competing this year for the National Spelling Bee Championship. Spellers participating in the national competition qualify by winning locally sponsored spelling bees in their home communities.
The ABC broadcast is the latest in a series of high-profile acknowledgments that the bee is growing in stature. It is central to the storyline of �Akeelah and the Bee,� a feature-length film that is being released on April 28. The film, starring Laurence Fishburne, Angela Bassett and Keke Palmer, is a fictional account of an African American girl from Los Angeles who overcomes adversities to win the national spelling bee championship. In 2002, the Scripps National Spelling Bee was the subject of the documentary film, �Spellbound,� which was nominated for an Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Also, spelling bees inspired the Tony Award-winning Broadway play, �The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.�
The Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is held each year in Washington DC, will begin on Wednesday May 31, featuring top spellers from across the U.S. and including competitors from Europe, Guam, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, American Samoa, Canada and New Zealand. The opening rounds of the bee on May 31 are not televised, but real-time results are provided via the Internet at the Bee�s official website, www.spellingbee.com.
This is a production of ESPN, in association with ABC Entertainment. The executive producer is Jed Drake, senior producer is Bob Toms, and the director is Doug Holmes.
�The 2006 Scripps National Spelling Bee� will be broadcast in HDTV with 5.1-channel surround sound. A TV parental guideline will be posted closer to airdate. (CLOSED CAPTIONED)