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[05/23/13 - 01:28 PM]
ESPN and ESPN3 Present 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals
ESPN will mark its 20th year of televising the event by presenting 14 hours of the competition live beginning Wednesday, May 29.

[via press release from ESPN]

ESPN and ESPN3 Present 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee Finals

ESPN will mark its 20th year of televising the Scripps National Spelling Bee by presenting 14 hours of the competition live across three networks - ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN3 - beginning Wednesday, May 29, at 8 a.m. EDT, through Thursday, May 30, at 10 p.m.

All preliminary on-stage rounds will take place on Wednesday and will be carried exclusively on ESPN3, the live multi-screen sports network available in 83 million homes. Linear television coverage will begin on Thursday, May 30, at 2 p.m. with the semifinals rounds on ESPN2, and conclude on ESPN at 8 p.m. with the Final. ESPN3 will also simulcast ESPN2 and ESPN's telecasts.

Throughout the competition, ESPN3 will feature a second "Play Along" version where fans will have the option to view coverage without seeing the word until the last second so they can test their own spelling skills while watching the champion spellers.

The schedule:

Date Time (ET) Round Networks

Wed, May 29 8-11:45 a.m. Preliminary Round 2 & Play-Along Version ESPN3 1:15-6:15 p.m. Preliminary Round 3 & Play-Along Version ESPN3

Thu, May 30 2-5 p.m. Semifinals Rounds 5-6 & Play-Along Version ESPN2 / WatchESPN 8-10 p.m. Championship Finals & Play-Along Version ESPN / WatchESPN

Commentators:

SportsCenter anchor Sage Steele returns for the fourth year as host of the National Spelling Bee. Paul A. Loeffler, a former Bee finalist who represented the Merced (Calif.) Sun-Star in the 1990 National Spelling Bee and finished among the top 13 spellers, returns as the TV word analyst. Samantha Ponder, college sports reporter and College GameDay host, returns for her second Spelling Bee as a reporter.

Some ESPN Spelling Bee TV highlights:

· The production open will be themed to Matilda the Musical, the Broadway musical nominated for 12 Tony Awards. In the open, Miss Trunchbull, played by actor Bertie Carvel, shows her jealousy for the champion spellers' knowledge of words via a dark and twisted monologue;

· Video of select champion spellers lip-syncing to the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis hit song "Can't Hold Us";

· Best of the Bee - Highlights the most memorable moments from ESPN's two decades of National Spelling Bee Finals;

· Emmy Award-winning essayist and reporter Tom Rinaldi will be featured in a series of short, poetic essays that capture the essence of the Bee competition and its stars; and

· ESPN's television coverage of the 2013 Bee Finals will include introductory profiles of select champion spellers, highlighting their hometowns, schools and hobbies. Two profiles tell the stories of Arvind Mahankali from Bayside, New York (sponsored by New York Daily News), who has placed third in the championship round each of the last two years, and Vanya Shivashankar from Olathe, Kansas, (sponsored by The Olathe News), whose sister Kavya won the National Spelling Bee in 2009.

ABOUT THE SCRIPPS NATIONAL SPELLING BEE FINALS

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is the nation's largest and longest-running educational program. The purpose of the Scripps National Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage that will help them all of their lives. Visit spellingbee.com for more information about the Scripps National Spelling Bee, which is administered on a not-for-profit basis by The E.W. Scripps Company.

The 2013 Scripps National Spelling Bee will feature 281 champion spellers, ranging in age from eight to 14. Spellers qualify for the national competition by winning locally sponsored spelling contests in their respective communities. The champion spellers who travel to Washington, D.C., represent all 50 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and Department of Defense Schools in Europe; as well as the Bahamas, Canada, China, Ghana, Jamaica, Japan and South Korea.

For more information and real-time results for all segments of competition are provided at the Bee's official website, http://www.spellingbee.com/

Inside the 2013 National Spelling Bee numbers . . .

· 2 - champion spellers - Vanya Shivashankar (Olathe, Kansas) and Ashwin Veeramani (Cleveland) - whose siblings have won the National Spelling Bee titles in the past

· 5 - champion spellers in the finals for the fourth year - Grace Remmer (Jacksonville, Fla.), Amber Born (Lynn, Mass.), Sriram J. Hathwar (Corning, NY), Arvind Mahankali (Bayside, NY) and Chetan Reddy (Dallas, Texas)

· 8 - age of the youngest speller in the finals: Tara Singh, Louisville, Ky.

· 52 - percentage of champion spellers who are girls

· 89 - percentage of spellers between ages 12 and 14 years old

· 129 - eighth graders in the finals, the grade with the largest number of champion spellers

· 179 - number of champions spellers who attend public schools





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